Every revolution of the Arab spring made its own way to accomplish its goals and achieve radical change in its country. They did not all pursue the same style and same course. This is because each country has its respective circumstances and conditions, despite similarities between regimes that fell in many aspects and differences in others.
Among these countries, there is Tunisia that has almost accomplished full change; Libya that fully ousted the then-ruling regime, but it has not done anything yet in the transition to the new regime; Egypt that dropped figures of the regime, though its mechanisms are still existing and influential but it is moving slowly in the transition to the new regime; and Yemen that has completed many goals of its revolution, which is in full swing and full momentum. The Yemeni revolution has led to [formation of] a government headed by the opposition, began to eliminate corruption in public institutions and charted a defined roadmap for the transition period to achieve a new constitution, a national reconciliation and radical solutions to chronic problems. Now, it is on the threshold of the more important due achievement; that is to change the head of the regime through nominal election but represents the most significant goal for which the Yemeni youths took to streets.
After nine days, Yemen will have a new president for the first time after the thirty three years, seven months and four days – the period President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been in power – which is one of the longest reigns in the whole history of Yemen and its modern history as well. During Saleh's rule, approximately two thirds of Yemen's population were born; fifteen million people at least did not know another president, majority of whom came out in rebellion across most provinces of Yemen calling for his change and for overthrow of his regime after he reached the peak of corruption in his last years and began to build a family security system in the last seven years making him go composedly and insistently on the road to tyranny. Exactly one year ago, I wrote a series of articles published in al-Syasyiah and 26-September newspapers after the fall of Ben Ali and Mubarak regimes and the outbreak of youth revolution here, trying to alert the regime before my resignation that corruption and tyranny can cause the fall of any regime when reach their worst. The regime then did not grasp the message, but went ahead further in repressing the youth rebels and committing the most heinous unprecedented crime in Yemen's history, namely the "Friday of Dignity" massacre on 18 March, which totally destroyed legitimacy of President Saleh's regime. Saleh then, by means of his wiliness and foresight, realized the issue and began immediately his efforts to give up the power on condition that he obtained guarantees. The story went on in one of the longest, noblest and greatest revolutions of humanity during which Yemenis made a lot of sacrifices in the form of their children's lives, their standards of living and deterioration of basic services. Nonetheless, they legendarily stood resilient amongst regional and international unprecedented sympathy and keenness to share them accomplishment of a radical change, while sparing Yemen internal strife and civil war.
Therefore, we must be aware that the early presidential election – to be held on February 21 – has symbolic connotations featured in it rather than it carries meanings of democratic competition, as competition will be after the two-year transition period. However, the primary objective of elections is to complete the power transfer from an entrenched regime represented by the person of president Saleh, regardless of the person who will replace him. The change of the regime's head and the family rule was the primary goal of the revolution, the opposition forces, the region and the international community. The issue was not personified by this. In the course of time, issue of Egypt focused on the rule of Mubarak and his family, the issue of Tunisia on the rule of Ben Ali and his family, the issue of Libya on the rule of Gaddafi and his family and the issue of Syria focused on the rule of al-Assad and his family. We have the same problem recurred in Yemen. The components that surrounded these five regimes were no more than decorative forms, some of them were paid off, either with money or interests, others freed themselves from the bondage of ruling families and chose to align with will of change.
For this reason, Saleh first maneuvered during March, April and May of last year in order to achieve several objectives: to go out with irrevocable impunity, to leave [power] in proper way maintaining his dignity, and to chose a transitional president through whom he can preserve his power. Saleh's choices were limited to two characters, the vice-president was not among them. He has been inspired by the Russian former President and current Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin – Saleh is known to admire his strong personality – who chose one of his men to be the president for one term, and he is most likely going to take over the presidency next month again. President Saleh was aware that he can direct one of those two men from behind, and then come back as a president or prepare his son [for presidency] after the transitional period. But, the presidential mosque's bombing and reservations by opposition forces about Saleh's two nominees to succeed him temporarily, in addition to support by regional and international community for the nomination of Vice-President, all that made Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi the sole candidate who has been consensually chosen by national forces for the post of President of the Republic. It has been an internal and external consensus reached very carefully to block the road to potential candidacy of president Saleh and his son for this office following the transitional period.
These facts have been grasped by revolution youths who realized that political performance of the opposition, Gulf countries and UNSC permanent members further helped in achieving their first goal; to turn the chapter of President Saleh in power forever, as a first step towards meeting their revolution goals and promoting security and stability of Yemen. All that led youths to show increasingly clear enthusiasm towards the achievement of change and the election of Abdu Rabo Mansour Hadi as a head of the country on February 21, despite the fact that they perceive that the election is already won, in one hand, and that Hadi was Saleh's vice-president over eighteen years, on the other. However, they knew that Hadi was not a full and real partner in power in the conventional sense as far as he was formal vice-president and partner in administering the country's affairs. Therefore, he cannot be blamed for gross sins and errors of Saleh's regime. In addition, Hadi – one of Abyan province people – will be the first southerner to be a president of unified Yemen. This, by itself, has been a dream for all Yemenis, who used to and still believe that the assumption of presidency by a southerner will have a big role in strengthening the national unity among Yemenis, after the policies of president Saleh – who along with the Socialist Party unified the country in 1990 – led to significantly growing secessionist feelings in recent years.
Thus, the Yemeni revolution youths – most of whom were born in the era of Saleh – realize that the election of Hadi represents the essence of change they struggled and sacrificed for. The ouster of Saleh from rule is the first main goal of their revolution, and none of the other goals (such as drafting a new constitution, putting an end to military rule, establishing a civil state and getting rid of corruption and despotism) could be achieved if the first goal was not achieved. They realize the absolutely necessary for Hadi to get more votes than those obtained by Saleh in the elections of 2006, because that would end any later political exaggeration about his legitimacy and give him – Hadi –powerful legitimacy enabling him to achieve the youth revolution objectives that he has recognized in his campaign launched last Tuesday in very symbolic words rich of prudence and wisdom, when he said "youths threw a huge stone in a pond where it stagnated for a long time". A message was clear enough to reflect the man's trends and desire to lead Yemen to safety.