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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2003 > April

Parliamentary Elections in Yemen and Constitutional Referendum in Qatar

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
April 30, 2003

The United States wishes to extend its congratulations to the people and governments of Yemen and Qatar for the achievement of significant milestones earlier this week on the road to democracy and representative government.

On Sunday, April 27, the Republic of Yemen conducted parliamentary elections, the third in its history, based on principles of universal suffrage and direct ballots. Initial reports indicate that the election was mostly free and fair, with voter turnout estimated at 75 percent and greatly increased the participation of women voters since the last round in 1997. The United States extends its congratulations to the people of Yemen and the Yemeni government for its conduct of these elections.

The United States also wishes to congratulate the Qatari people and the Government of Qatar on the conduct of the April 29 referendum on the new draft constitution released earlier this month. The constitution was approved yesterday by 96.6 percent of voters and voter turnout was estimated to be 84 percent. The constitution and its provisions for an elected legislature demonstrate the Qatari government's commitment to representative government and the protection of individual rights and freedoms. We note that this referendum follows closely upon municipal elections conducted in Qatar on April 7, which resulted in the election of Qatar's first woman to public office.

These are important developments for Yemen, Qatar, and the region as a whole, and we will continue to work as partners with Yemen and Qatar -- and our friends throughout the region -- as they build the institutions and practices of a democratic society.


Released on April 30, 2003

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