FROM unification in 1990 until shortly after the war of 1994, Yemen had a five-member presidential council, elected by parliament. Technically, Ali Abdullah Salih was merely its chairman - though in practice he was much more than that.
On September 29, 1994, parliament approved a series of amendments to the constitution which, among other things, abolished the presidential council and replaced it with a one-man presidency.
Two days later, under the new rules, parliament elected Salih as president for a five-year term. He won easily, with 253 votes out of the 259 members present. Representatives of a further 42 constituencies were absent.
Other candidates were:
Sheikh Abdul Majid Zindani (Islah)
Ali Saleh Abbad Muqbil (YSP)
Faisal Bin Shamlan, oil minister (independent)
Abd al-Wahhab Mahmoud (Socialist Arab Ba'ath)
Under the 1994 constitution, subsequent presidential elections were to be conducted by a direct vote of the people and no individual could be elected for more than two five-year terms.
The constitution specified that presidential elections must be competitive (ie with more than one candidate) but in order to contest an election all candidates required approval by at least 10 per cent of parliament.