Yemen takes historic step as millions voteFeb 22, 2012
After months of chaos and the ghost of civil war, Yemen marked a new chapter Tuesday as millions of Yemenis voted to end the turmoil and move towards a new future.
The presidential election is the first critical benchmark in a two-year transitional period, and voters turned out in large numbers, with many hoping that this election will bring a peaceful transition to democracy and development.
The elections were part of a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) agreement, which called for the United Nations to provide assistance to the respective Yemen institutions to conduct elections, begin a national dialogue process, and conduct a constitutional referendum within the transitional period.
In just 45 days after the signing of the GCC Agreement last November, the United Nations Development Programme was able to assist the national body in charge of the elections – the Supreme Commission on Elections and Referendum – and establish a Multi-donors Basket Fund (MDBF) to conduct the elections and support Yemenis in their transition to democracy.
Japan, Denmark, UK, Germany, and the UN Peace-Building Fund immediately joined the effort to cover the financial needs of presidential elections. US$ 8 million were allocated to cover this first phase.
UNDP procured and delivered polling kits and other equipment to 28,742 polling stations, and it trained their staff. By engaging the national post office, payment of more than 89,892 polling officials in addition to 102,556 security staff was ensured.
A voter education campaign was launched to reach millions of Yemenis through radio, television, online, mobile and on public transit.