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Yemen Taking Steps to Prevent Election Disruption, Minister Says

Yemen’s Interior Minister Abdulqader Qahtan said he expects some “disruptions” to tomorrow’s presidential election, which will end the rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh.

“We expect some disruptions, but they will be limited,” Qahtan said at a press conference in Sana’a, the capital. The government is taking “all security measures to face any emergencies,” he said. Yemen’s southern secessionists and northern Houthi rebels, who don’t recognize the central government, have called on supporters to boycott the election.

About 12 million Yemenis are eligible to vote in the polls in which Sale’s vice president for 18 years, Abdurabu Mansur Hadi, is the only candidate. That was a stipulation of the Gulf-brokered transition accord signed by Saleh in November with members of the main opposition coalition, under which Hadi took over as interim leader and Saleh and members of his inner circle were granted immunity from prosecution.

More than 100,000 troops will provide security at polling stations across the country, Judge Saba al-Hajji, member of the Supreme Elections and Referendum Commission, said on Feb. 18.

The elections begin a phase of “trying to stabilize the situation and put Yemen on a sound footing,” U.S. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein said in a Feb. 20 interview in Sana’a. “We don’t think that the two-year period is going to solve all of Yemen’s problems.”

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