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Jemen/ Ex-Präsident Saleh/
Image: Reuters

Yemen's government cut short

November 8, 2014

Yemen's ex-president, his party and Houthi rebels have rejected the country's new government. The moves threaten to unravel a UN-brokered truce and deals reached after rebels overran the capital, Sanaa, in September.


Yemen's long-ruling General People's Congress (GPC) rejected the country's proposed power-sharing government on Saturday.

Further throwing Yemen's political transition into question, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh also rejected new UN sanctions imposed on him and two rebel leaders.

The allied Houthi group has also rejected the new government announced by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi via state media on Friday.

Prime minister-designate Khaled Bahah was named to head a new 36-member line-up drawn from across Yemen's political spectrum.

The unity government was supposed to be the final step of a truce settlement.

Reactions to sanctions

Saturday's rejections followed Friday's decision by the UN Security Council to impose an assets freeze and a global travel ban on the former president, Saleh, and two rebel leaders.

The 15-member council targeted the commanders for backing a violent uprising earlier this year and Saleh for allegedly supporting their efforts.

Houthis described the council's imposition of sanctions as "a flagrant provocation of the feelings of Yemenis and a blatant interference in their internal affairs."

GPC members also claimed that no one consulted with their faction when forming the long-awaited cabinet, and urged party nominees to turn down their assigned ministries.

Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi
Hadi will have to lead without the support of his partyImage: Getty Images/S. Gallup

The GPC also ousted Hadi as its own leader on Saturday, announcing that the GPC's newly appointed vice president and secretary general would assume his role within the party.

Hadi became president in early 2012 after the longtime Yemeni leader Saleh stepped down amid protests inspired by the Arab Spring. Saleh continued to hold the reins of the GPC.

Al Qaeda insurgents have also sought to exploit the turmoil, raising fears that the Arabian Peninsula nation could become a failed state.


In a televised speech to the GPC on Saturday, Saleh alleged that Hadi had lobbied for the UN sanctions against him. The former president denied any wrongdoing, vowing to drop his immunity if authorities had enough evidence to prosecute him.

Saleh also criticized the newly formed government, calling it "unrepresentative." The ruling party then announced that it would pull its members from the new cabinet. "We will not take part in a government weaker than its predecessor," Saleh said.

Gulf-based security analyst Mustafa Alani said the moves weakened Hadi's standing.

"Losing this position [as GPC leader] leaves Hadi without a power base outside the presidency. Previously he was speaking as both president and leader of one of the largest parties. Now he has lost this," Alani said.

The Houthi rebelscaptured Sanaa in September, allegedly with the tacit support of Saleh, and demanded that Hadi, then in his role as president, appoint a new government. They complained that the previous one had aligned itself too close to the conservative Sunni Islamist party. The prime minister stepped down shortly afterwards.

mkg/ipj (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)

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