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Yemen prepares for presidential election

Monday, February 20, 2012 - 02:14

Feb. 20 - Yemenis prepare to vote on Tuesday, despite a polling station bombing in Aden. Jessica Gray reports.

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Preparations are under way for Yemen's landmark elections after the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakel Karman urged fellow Yemenis to go to the polls, even if there is only one candidate. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) YEMENI NOBEL PRIZE WINNER TAWAKEL KARMAN "We are calling all Yemenis including the youth to go on February 21 to emphasize that the issue is not just the elections. We must also emphasize our agreement and support to the interim president who will run the interim period." But the pro-democracy activist was quick to add that Yemen's part in the Arab Spring protests is far from over. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) YEMENI NOBEL PRIZE WINNER TAWAKEL KARMAN "We will stay at the protest camps until we achieve all goals of the revolution until we build a civil state. We will not leave the protest camps until we have guarantees that there will be a democratic constitution that guarantees all the demands that the protesters wanted." Yemen's presidential election is set to open on Tuesday. Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is the sole candidate and should he win, will face the challenge of uniting the country's many rival factions and tribes in the north and south to create peace. He will also have to cope with an ailing economy and al Qaeda operatives that use Yemen as a base. The 66-year-old Hadi became the acting president when Saleh finally stepped aside in November after brokering an amnesty deal for his role in a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters. Many hope the election will be peaceful, but the Monday bombing of a polling station in Aden has called that into question. The government responded that it is prepared to act, but only within reason. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ABDEKADER QAHTAN INTERIOR MINISTER "As I said before, we expected such incidents, but they remain very limited. In all cases, Yemeni blood remains precious and our precautionary procedures will never escalate to become armed confrontation." A soldier was also killed and another injured during a shootout with an unknown assailant. Jessica Gray, Reuters

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Yemen prepares for presidential election

Monday, February 20, 2012 - 02:14