Thursday, January 22, 2015
Yemen: president and government tender resignation
Yemeni Prime Minister Khalid Bahah (left) and president Abed Rabbo Mansur al-Hadi in Oktober 2014. Both tendered their resignation on Thursday. (Photo al-Sahwa)
Yemen's president tendered his resignation Thursday after a week-long standoff with Shiite militia but the speaker of parliament refused to accept it and called an emergency session, officials said.
President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi submitted his resignation just hours after receiving the resignations of Prime Minister Khalid Bahah and his cabinet, presidential adviser Sultan al-Atwani said. Their resignations came after a week in which the Houthi militia, who have controlled much of the capital since last September, abducted a top Hadi aide, overran his palace and laid siege to the prime minister's residence for two days.
But the speaker of parliament refused to accept Hadi's resignation when it was submitted by aides and called an emergency meeting of lawmakers for Friday, a senior official told AFP.
"Parliament represented by speaker Yahia al-Rai refused to accept the president's resignation and decided to call an extraordinary session for Friday morning," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The prime minister, who was only released from the militia siege of his residence on Wednesday, said in his resignation letter that he did not want to be party to the collapse of the country. Bahah said that from the time of his nomination in November to his confirmation by parliament in December he had tried to serve the country. "But the situation has evolved in a different manner and we decided to stay away from unconstructive policies that do not respect the rule of law," he said. "Therefore we submitted our resignation to the president and to the Yemeni people, because we do not want to be a party in what is happening and what is about to happen," he said.
The Houthis maintained a tight grip on Yemen's capital Thursday with fighters deployed around the presidential palace, in spite of an agreement with Hadi on Wednesday to withdraw in return for political concessions. Under the terms of Wednesday’s deal, Houthi leaders agreed to withdraw fighters from the presidential palace and release Hadi’s chief of staff in return for “equal representation” in public posts.
One of the more controversial compromises was an assurance that a draft constitution could be amended to accommodate Houthi demands for a federal administrative structure. The current draft constitution, which emerged after a UN-sponsored agreement with the group in September, seeks to divide Yemen into six regions, an arrangement the Houthis reject.
Earlier Thursday it looked as if with the agreement calm was restored, but later in the day there were few signs that the rebels were sticking to their side of the deal. Reporters and witnesses in the Yemeni capital said rebel gunmen were still posted outside Hadi’s house west of the capital, and a presidential aide told AP that Hadi could not leave his house because the Houthis had removed his guards. There were no signs of Hadi’s Chief of Staff Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, who was abducted over the weekend.