Yemeni president finally sacks cabinet, eases tension

Yemeni president finally sacks cabinet, eases tension
Tue Sep 2, 2014 20:45:50

The Yemeni president on Tuesday dismissed the Cabinet including the prime minister who led it for two years, while partially reversing an earlier decision to lift fuel subsidies in a bid to end a standoff with Shiite opposition holding anti-government protests across the country.

Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi made his decision during a meeting with the now outgoing government, representatives of political parties and parliament members, the official news agency SABA reported. The decisions came in response to an ``initiative'' submitted by a presidential committee formed by Hadi to examine peaceful resolutions for the Yemeni crisis.

``The nation is passing through tough times,'' the agency reported Hadi as saying during the meeting. ``It is standing at a crossroads: either walk the path of life, development, and a new Yemen, or chaos, lawlessness and the unknown.''

Hadi pledged to represent the interests of the Yemeni people as a whole and not privilege particular factions or groups. He said he would appoint a new prime minister within a week, after which political parties will nominate Cabinet ministers from their own ranks. Hadi will appoint defense, interior, finance and foreign ministers, SABA said.

Opposition spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Salam said his group rejected the move and would continue to pressure the government. ``We are not giving in ... but we will also not shut the door to dialogue.''

Hadi's decision comes a day after opposition leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi escalated the confrontation with Hadi by calling for civil disobedience against the government. He also urged the expansion of mass protests that have disrupted life in the capital for over two weeks. The opposition had been demanding the government to step down and also reinstate fuel subsides.

Critics saw outgoing Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Bassindwa as weak. The change of the prime minister is the first since the election of Hadi in 2012.


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