The ruling General People's Congress (GPC) was leading the early results in Yemen's parliamentary elections, the government electoral commission said Monday.
President Saleh's party looks set to win the
"First indications are that the GPC is leading the results," commission spokesman Abdu Janadi said, giving no further details.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh's GPC was followed by the Islamist opposition Al-Islah Party and the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), Jenadi told reporters.
Official results were expected to start coming in today but a final result may not be announced for some time because of the isolation of some stations in Yemen's rugged hinterland.
The GPC held 226 of the 301 seats in the outgoing parliament, with Al-Islah and the YSP holding 62 and two seats respectively. The remainder went to independents and members of the Baath Party.
Violent clashes left one civilian dead and 14 injured, mainly in the city of Taiz, a source in the government's electoral commission added.
Opposition sources charged late Sunday that there had been some voting irregularities in Taiz, and called for poll-counting to be halted.
Tension was also high in various constituencies in Ibb, Lahj and Omran, where the electoral process was temporarily halted last week after a failed assassination attempt by a candidate from the Islamist opposition Al-Islah party on the governeral People's Congress (GPC), electoral sources said.
Yemen has cooperated with the US in its
war against 'terror'
"We are very pleased with the first stage of the elections," said Iriyani, a former long-time Yemeni prime minister and foreign minister.
"There are hundreds of claims of violence by the GPC and hundreds by the opposition, but this is absolutely normal."
The GPC official also played down the war of words that has erupted between his party and Al-Islah, notably over the latter's link to 'terror' acts.
"We are all democratic but during elections we say bad things about each other. The next day we are shaking hands and kissing cheeks."
Eight million people over the age of 18 were eligible to vote in the third elections since north and south Yemen unified in 1990, including 3.4 million women.
A total of 1,396 candidates stood, 991 from the country's 22 political parties and 405 independents. Only 11 were female candidates.
President Saleh casts his vote
GPC candidates numbered 296, while 212 stood for Al-Islah and 107 for the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP).
The GPC held 226 seats in the outgoing parliament, with Al-Islah and the YSP holding 62 and two seats respectively. The remainder went to independents and members of the Baath Party.
Al-Islah secretary general Mohammed al-Yadumi has ruled out any coalition with the GPC in the new parliament.
Yemeni television reported turnout as high. Results were expected to start coming in later Monday.
The electoral commission has given polling stations 72 hours to submit their results to take into account the isolation of some stations in Yemen's rugged hinterland.
Darren Nance, senior project manager for the election observation mission of the Washington-based National Democratic Institute, which also observed Yemen's last polls in 1997, said the "electoral process was working."
"Things seem to have gone well so far. We have seen people voting in massive numbers, but the counting process is a long one," said Nance.