Outgoing Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Monday formally handed over power to his former vice-president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to replace him after 33 years of one-man rule.
It was the last act in a transition process that had been engineered by the Gulf states and the US, and that according to many is nothing but a farce. Saleh handed Hadi a Yemeni flag, which he called the "banner of the revolution" and wished him success. "The responsibilities on the shoulders of the new president are immense, but we are confident that with our support he will succeed," he said.
Hadi already took the oath of office on Saturday, after he had received 99 per cent of the votes cast in an election, earlier in the week, whereby he was the only candidate. According to the government some 6,6 million Yemenis of the 14 million that were entitled to participate, took part. About 25,000 ballots were invalid, the government said.
While the ceremony took place, tens of thousands of Yemenis were protesting in San'a, demanding the prosecution of Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was granted immunity under the transition deal. "The people want to prosecute the murderer," they chanted in front of the house of newly inaugurated president Hadi.