1999 Yemeni presidential election

Direct presidential elections were held in Yemen for the first time on 23 September 1999.[1] Candidates had to be approved by at least 10% of the 301 members of the House of Representatives; however, in practice this meant that only two parties, the ruling General People's Congress (GPC) and Al-Islah had enough seats to nominate their candidates. However, al-Islah backed the GPC candidate, incumbent President Ali Abdullah Saleh rather than running a candidate of their own.

23 September 1999 2006 →
  President Ali Abdullah Saleh.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Ali Abdullah Saleh Najeeb Qahtan Al-Sha'abi
Party GPC Independent
Popular vote 3,584,399 141,481
Percentage 96.2% 3.8%

President before election

Ali Abdullah Saleh

Elected President

Ali Abdullah Saleh

The only candidates that received approval from Parliament were Saleh and Najeeb Qahtan Al-Sha'abi, another member of the GPC. The main opposition candidate, Ali Saleh Obad of the Yemeni Socialist Party, failed to gain enough support in the House of Representatives; his party subsequently boycotted the elections. The reported voter turnout of 67.5% was contested by the opposition.[2]


Nominations for presidential candidates closed on 13 July 1999. In total, 31 candidates put their names forward, though three of them were disqualified immediately for failing to meet the legal requirements:[3]

  1. Ali Abdullah Saleh – supported by the General People's Congress, Al-Islah, National Opposition Council)
  2. Ali Salih 'Ubad Muqbil – supported by parties in the Supreme Co-ordination Council for the Opposition
  3. Abd al-Quwi Ahmad Hamoud Shuwi'a – supported by the People's Democratic Party
  4. Al-Habbani Muhammad abd al-Malik Nu'man al-'Abassi – supported by the Yemeni Popular Unity Party
  5. Ali bin Ali Sabihi
  6. Muhammad Muhammad Hizam al-Yamani
  7. Amin Ahmad Thabit
  8. Abd al-Wahhab Muhammad Hassan al-Karidi
  9. Abdullah Salih Salih al-Bakhiti
  10. Muhammad Ahmad Sa'ad al-Dhufari
  11. Faisal Ali Ahmad Ghaaithan al-Tawil
  12. Salih Hassan Abdullah al-'Azani
  13. Abd al-Malik Yahya Ahmad Hanash
  14. Ahmad Ali Hussein Yahya al-'Amri
  15. Muhammad A'id Qa'id al-'Uthmali
  16. Ali Salih al-Houri
  17. Muhammad Ali Muhsin al-Sirri
  18. Salih Ahmad bin Ahmad Jubah
  19. Muhammad Hussein al-Jamuzi
  20. Ali Abdullah Salih Muhsin Suroub
  21. Abd al-Wahhab Qanaf Sha'if
  22. Mustafa Youssef Khalil
  23. Iskandar Ali al-Nathari
  24. Mustafa Ali Naji 'Aiyash
  25. Ahmad Muslih al-Barti
  26. Ma'adh Abdullah al-Shahani
  27. Ahmad Abduh al-Ramim
  28. Najeeb Qahtan Al-Sha'abi – MP for the General People's Congress, running as an independent

The following were disqualified:

  1. Amin Ahmad bin Ahmad Thabit (candidates must not be married to a foreigner and he had a Russian wife)
  2. Abdullah Salih Salih Muhsin Surub (minimum age is 40, he was 38)
  3. A candidate with a name too similar to President Saleh

The parliamentary vetting committee eliminated another four candidates, putting 24 of the 31 nominations to a parliamentary vote, in which a candidate required 31 votes to be able to run in the elections. Another candidate, Khalid al-Zarraka, did not appear on the publicised list of nominations, but was included in the parliamentary vote. Only two candidates managed to obtain the required number of votes; Saleh and Najeeb Qahtan Al-Sha'abi.[2] Twenty-one of the 25 candidates (including al-Zarraka) did not receive any votes.[3]

Candidate Votes %
Ali Abdullah Saleh 182 60.5
Najeeb Qahtan Al-Sha'abi 39 13.0
Khalid al-Zarraka 25 8.3
Ali Salih 'Ubad Muqbil 7 2.3
Other candidates 0 0.0
Abstentions 1 0.3
Absent 47 15.6
Total 301 100
Source: Al-Bab


Candidate Party Votes %
Ali Abdullah Saleh General People's Congress 3,584,399 96.2
Najeeb Qahtan Al-Sha'abi Independent 141,481 3.8
Registered voters/turnout 47,011
Total 3,772,891 100
Registered voters/turnout 5,591,422 67.5
Source: Nohlen et al.


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume I, p301 ISBN 0-19-924958-X
  2. ^ a b "Election Watch". Journal of Democracy. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 11 (1): 206–211. January 2000. doi:10.1353/jod.2000.0001. ISSN 1086-3214. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  3. ^ a b Nominations for the presidency Al-Bab, 20 July 1999