New unity government formed in Yemen: PM
An anti-government protester performs the traditional Baraa dance in Sanaa. REUTERS photoYemen’s Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Basindawa said yesterday he had finalized his new unity government and would disclose the line-up later in the day.
“The government has been formed and we will announce it formally this evening,” Basindawa told AFP in the Yemeni capital Sanaa. “We have agreed on all the names,” he added. Half of the new cabinet ministers will be from the opposition, while loyalists of embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh will make up the other half, a condition stipulated in the Gulf brokered power-transfer deal signed by Saleh on November 23. Yemen’s opposition Common Forum spokesman Mohammed Qahtan told AFP last week that Saleh loyalists would keep the ministries of defense, foreign affairs, oil, telecommunications and civil services. He said the opposition meanwhile would head the ministries of interior, finance, cooperation, information and human rights.
The newly formed transitional cabinet will carry-out government duties for three months, after which elections will be held and Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi will formally take over the presidency. The Gulf Cooperation Council plan, which is backed by the United Nations, forced Saleh to hand over power to Hadi in return for immunity from prosecution for him and his family. The GCC deal also allows Saleh to remain honorary president until Hadi’s election.
The announcement came as pro-government forces and tribesmen opposed to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh traded artillery fire on the streets of the capital Sanaa, witnesses told Reuters. Neither side gave figures for casualties. Forces opposing and loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh pulled back from some positions in the southern city of Taiz on Dec.6, after a bout of fighting there killed at least 20 people.