Dissident Yemeni General Ali Mohsin Al Ahmar asserted on Sunday that embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh rigged the 2006 presidential election to stay in power, AFP reports.
Al Ahmar said opposition candidate Faisal Bin Shamlan was the actual winner at a press conference.
Al Ahmar, a central figure in Saleh's regime before defecting with the units under his command earlier this year, dropped the bombshell while talking to a group of journalists who visited him to seek the release of Reuters correspondent Mohammad Sudam, who was arrested while passing through an army checkpoint over the weekend.
"Saleh was so nervous and told me and the late Abdul Aziz Abdul Gani (the former head of Shura Council who died in August in Saudi Arabia) that the computer made a mistake and announced Bin Shamlan the winner," Al Ahmar told the visiting delegation of reporters.
"We told him to calm down. Then after delaying the announcement for three days, the result was rigged and Saleh was announced the winner."
Tarek Al Shami, spokesman for the ruling General People's Congress categorically dismissed the charge, adding that Al Ahmar should see a psychiatrist "because all his recent statements are illogical."
Al Shami said all political parties were represented on the elections panel and had fielded observers.
"In addition, the international observers praised the competitiveness and fairness of the election," he said.