Thursday, December 8, 2011

Yemen gets government of 'national unity'

Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi
Yemen's vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi, issued a decree on Wednesday approving the formation of a government of national unity. The cabinet consists of 34 ministers, 50 -50 divided between President Ali Abdullah Saleh's party and the opposition.The new government, headed by prime minister Mohammed Basindwa, will carry out its duties for three months, after which elections will be held and Hadi will formally take over the presidency.
Its formation is in line with a Gulf Cooperation Council plan, which president Saleh finally signed on 23 November after having refused three times in the past months. According to the plan, which is backed by the United Nations, Saleh transfers his powers to his deputy in return for immunity from prosecution for him and his family.
Saleh's ministers for foreign affairs and defence, Abu Bakr al-Kurbi and Mohammad Nasser Ahmad Ali respectively, have retained their old posts, according to the decree published by state news agency Saba.
However, the interior ministry has been entrusted to a member of the opposition, Abdelqader Qahtani, and the human rights portfolio goes to Huria Mashhur, spokeswoman of the National Council, an opposition umbrella group. "The revolution still in progress until achieving its all goals and the coalition government is the first step," Mashhur tweeted in English after the decree.

In addition to the interior portfolio going to Qahtani, who is close to the opposition Islamist Al-Islah (Reform) party, Islah member Mohammed Said al-Saadi becomes planning and international cooperation minister.Two opposition independents, Sakher al-Wajih and Ali Ahmed al-Amarani, become finance and information ministers respectively.
The opposition had warned on Saturday it would not go ahead with forming a unity government until a military commission was formed and fighting stopped in Taez where 31 people were killed in clashes between the army and dissident tribesmen.State media reported later the same day that a ceasefire had come into effect after Hadi called for an end to the fighting.He also formed the 14-member military commission under his chairmanship. Its task under the Riyadh accord is to restructure the security forces and oversee the removal of weapons from streets.

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