Yemeni's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh is calling on his countrymen to take part in presidential elections on Tuesday.
The historic elections mark the end of Saleh's 33-year rule. However, the only candidate in the election is Saleh's former Vice President, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, who is currently leading the country's transitional government.
I invite you to actively participate in this democratic event and to head to ballot boxes to vote for Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, Saleh said in a letter addressed to the Yemeni people.
I invite you all to... overcome the past and move forward in rebuilding what the disastrous crisis exploited by backward and terrorist elements has caused, said Saleh, who is currently receiving medical treatment in New York.
Although he has resigned as President, Saleh has remained active in Yemeni politics. Seemingly unconcerned that the massive anti-government movement that led to his resignation is still active, Saleh wants to have a hand in the transition of power.
Ignoring his call for a high voter turnout, protestors in the north and separatists in the south are boycotting the elections. Additionally, a violent insurgency in the south has already disrupted the vote before it could start in a number of Yemeni cities.
Gunmen stormed and took control of a polling station in the town of Ataq on Monday. In the city of Aden, militants destroyed another polling station with a rocket then opened fire on an army patrol. A day earlier, a truck carrying presidential ballots was attacked in the same city.
One of the principal tasks of the new leadership of Yemen will to stop an al-Qaeda led wave of insurgency in the south of the country. Separatist groups are threatening the security and stability of the country and al-Qaeda has already gained significant ground.
“I know you face challenges ahead, but I am optimistic that Yemen can emerge as a model for how [a] peaceful transition in the Middle East can occur when people resist violence and unite under a common cause,” said U.S. President Barack Obama, who is supporting Hadi.