Resident Coordinator’s Annual Report 2012
All segments of the Yemeni population started 2012 with high expectations. Presidential elections were held on 21 February with Vice President Abdel-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi elected as the new President of Yemen. International election monitors oversaw voting in some 5,260 polling stations set up throughout Yemen’s 20 governorates. Despite the general consensus around only one candidate, there was nationwide campaigning and voter turnout of about 65%, an impressive figure given that various non-political opposition groups had declared that they were not going to vote. The turnout in the South was surprisingly high, with 35%, and even in the Northern province of Saada, which is under the control of the Al Houthies, around 72% of those registered turned up to vote. Support to this election was provided by UNDP, EAD/DPA and a number of donors in-country through a multi-donor basket fund managed by UNDP. The Peace Building Fund made available US$ 1 million to fund the electoral assistance activities. The support helped ensure the organisation of relatively peaceful and participatory elections, with the engagement of youth, women and marginalised groups, including IDPs.
The security situation throughout 2012 remained very fragile. As the newly elected President engaged in successfully fighting AQAP/AAS in the Southern Governorates during May, AQAP lost their footprint in their stronghold of Abyan Governorate. AQAP changed their strategy and initiated a form to, “take the fight to the main cities of Yemen”. They used different methods to do this, ranging from suicide explosive attacks, under vehicle explosive devices, and the use of motorcycle riders for effective hit and run assassinations of various Government Officials. Throughout the year the number of casualties has continued to rise as AQAP attacks continued and political incidents erupted into violence.