SANA’A, Mar 11, 2011- The text of speech by President Ali Abdullah Saleh on a reform initiative.
Our brothers in the General National Conference, the scholars, members of the parliament, members of the Shura Council, commanders of the Armed forces, chieftains, social figures, officials in the local authorities, civil society representatives, leaders of the parties participating in the conference;
Brothers and sisters, young men and women;
I would like first of all to express my thanks and appreciation to all the Yemeni people, including the men, chieftains, and women, who took to the streets in millions and expressed in various means their stance and visions and said yes to security, stability, and constitutional legitimacy. I would also like to thank the millions of masses that took to the streets in 2006 and said yes to constitutional legitimacy and granted us their trust. We want to also thank those citizens who took to the streets and demonstrated peacefully and said no to constitutional legitimacy for they have expressed their point of view under the freedom of expression and the democratic, pluralistic approach, which was adopted by our country. We have ordered the security forces to continue to provide protection for all protesters, whether they are supporters of our legitimacy or from the opposition.
Brothers and sisters, O great people of Yemen, I am happy to welcome you on the occasion of holding the National General Conference, which comprises political, cultural, and social figures, as well as youth groups to address the current developments taking place throughout the Arab world and Yemen. There is a storm targeting the Arab world at large and our country in particular.
O brothers and sisters, this conference is taking place at a critical time and amid great challenges facing the nation. We have listened to the report presented by the political consultant Dr Abd al-Karim al-Iryani, in which he explained the initiatives for national dialogue intended to ease political tensions.
Based on my responsibility before all Yemenis as the president, we have been and still are exerting efforts in order to ensure a smooth and peaceful transition of power so as to protect the nation and its security, and preserve its accomplishments as part of our continuous keenness to guard our nation against sedition, for the sake of the higher national interests. We bring to you today this new initiative which embraces all developments taking place in the nation. This new initiative - and I can assure you in advance - will be rejected by the opposition like the previous initiatives.
However, this [initiative] is my duty towards the Yemeni people, who are the source of authority.
I present this initiative to the great Yemeni people, the source of authority and the arbitrators during decision making.
This initiative is based on the following:
-Formation of a committee from the parliament and the Shura Council, including social figures, to draw up a new constitution - to be completed by the end of 2011 - to separate authorities;
-Switching into a parliamentary system, in which all executive powers are given to an elected government that will come through the parliamentary elections scheduled to take place in late 2011-early 2012. All powers will be given to the government.
We will adopt the following mechanism:
-Improving the local governance system by giving it vast powers based on decentralized administrative and financial systems;
- Establishing provinces based on geographical and economic measures;
-Forming a national unity government to draft a new electoral law based on proportional representation.
We ask the members of the parliament from the ruling party and the opposition to prepare the electoral law and referendum and pass it. We also ask them to form the higher committee for elections and referendum.
We have ordered the government to address the demands of the protesting youth present at the gate of Sanaa University, Safir Station in Ta'izz, and in Aden as well as in any other governorate for they are the youth of the future and the hope of this nation. This government will work on meeting all of their demands without the need for demonstrations, protests, or chaos.
Those youth are the nation's youth, its hope, and future; like the youth of 22 May, 26 September, and 14 October.
We call on the national committee to select from this conference a representation from all governorates including chieftains, scholars, civil society organizations, members of parliament, and Shura Council members to follow up on the decisions and recommendations of this conference.
At the end, may God guide everyone to what is good for the nation.