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THE WEEK AHEAD

SANA : Key Arab Vote

April 27, 1993

Voters in this newly unified and strategic nation on the Arabian Peninsula go to the polls today in a national election being closely watched in a region still ruled largely by monarchs and dictators. At stake are 301 seats in Yemen's majliss as-shoura , or Parliament, that is empowered to choose the next president. Candidates represent about 40 parties affiliated either with the former pro-Moscow socialists of the south of the country or the pro-U.S. military leaders of the north.

The election comes against a backdrop of widespread violence, including car-bombings in the former northern capital of Aden, street unrest in Sana and tribal kidnapings of foreign nationals in the countryside.

The major issue--Yemen's still-reeling post-Gulf War economy. Yemen lost $1 billion in foreign aid from Saudi Arabia and had to absorb more than 1 million workers expelled by Riyadh after Sana sympathized with Iraq during Operation Desert Shield in 1990.

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