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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 April, 2003, 23:23 GMT 00:23 UK
Yemen ruling party set for win
Voters in the capital, Sanaa
Past polls were much more violent

Yemen's ruling General People's Congress party has won a clear majority of seats in parliament following Sunday's election, according to partial results.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh's party has secured 214 seats in the 301-member parliament, results read out on Yemeni state television said.

The Islamist al-Islah party - the main opposition party - has at least 40, while the Yemeni Socialist Party has seven.

However some independent foreign observers have pointed to irregularities and opposition parties are accusing the ruling party of vote-rigging.

Despite calls by the authorities and clerics, the vote - Yemen's third general election since 1990 - was marked by violent incidents in which at least seven people were killed.

But correspondents said the number of dead appeared to far lower than in previous elections.

'Flaws'

The head of Yemen's election committee, Khaled Abdel Wahab al-Sherif, said votes were still being counted in 21 constituencies.

Turnout had been 76% of those eligible, he said.

However opposition parties are crying foul, alleging that ruling party activists have confiscated ballot boxes, effectively stopping the count in some areas.

In a number of others, officials were allegedly prevented from approving results which gave victory to opposition parties.

The Washington-based National Democratic Institute, which along with other countries and organisations sent election monitors, said the vote had been flawed by political intimidation, underage voting, inappropriate behaviour by the security forces and vote-buying, AFP news agency said.

President Saleh, who ruled North Yemen for 12 years before taking the helm of the unified state in 1990, had called for a "day without weapons".

Fears of bloodshed had been high after fighting during the campaign left eight people dead in a single clash.




SEE ALSO:
Yemeni trial over US murders
20 Apr 03  |  Middle East
Yemen seizes al-Qaeda suspect
05 Apr 03  |  Middle East
Westerners killed in Yemen
18 Mar 03  |  Middle East
Yemen moves against 'militants'
02 Jan 03  |  Middle East
US demands better Yemeni security
31 Dec 02  |  Middle East
US missionaries murdered in Yemen
30 Dec 02  |  Middle East


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