x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Yemen president may dismiss government due to Saleh meddling, says aide

Abdrabu Mansur Hadi is angry with ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh in the running of the country and his threats to withdraw members of his party from the unity government.

SANAA // Yemen President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi may sack his compromise government, angry at interference by ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh in the running of the country and his threats to withdraw members of his party from the unity government, an aide to Mr Hadi said yesterday.

Mr Saleh, who handed over power in a Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered deal in return for immunity from prosecution, has threatened to withdraw his members of the unity government and ordered the prime minister, Mohammad Salem Basindowa, to follow his orders, not Mr Hadi's.

"The president is considering the dismissal of the government and establishing another national unity government from all political forces in the country after Saleh had threatened to withdraw the members of his party from the unity government from the cabinet," the aide told The National on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

It was not clear how Mr Saleh could carry out his threat. But he remains president of his party, has not ruled out standing for president again in two years after the transition.

Many of his family and close circle hold key positions in the military and government.

Mr Hadi's aide said the new government would include moderate members of Mr Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC) who are not close to the former president, and more likely to hew the spirit of the peace plan than the current ministers who are mostly attached to the ousted leader.

Under the Gulf-brokered deal, Mr Hadi was elected unopposed last month as interim leader for two years.

The 34-member unity government was formed in December in accordance with the transition deal that Mr Saleh signed in November. Its seats are divided equally between Mr Saleh's General People's Congress and the opposition coalition known as Joint Meeting Parties.

The aide said Mr Hadi would establish a broad committee to oversee the implementation of the Gulf deal if Mr Saleh tries to undermine the government.

"Saleh is trying to impose his agenda on the president and is acting as if he was still a president. President Hadi has refused to attend meeting of the GPC in which Saleh wants to appear as the president of the president and said he will not succumb to blackmail," the aide said.

Members of Mr Saleh's party, except the ministers of defence and civil service, originally boycotted the routine cabinet meeting yesterday, demanding the prime minister apologise to Mr Saleh for calling him senile and accusing his regime of committing a massacre last year when government snipers killed more than 50 protesters in Sanaa, an official who attended the meeting said. But, they later attended the meeting after calls and warnings from Mr Hadi that the cabinet would be dismissed if they did not attend the meeting.

malqadhi@thenational.ae

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