Yemen's President Hadi quits amid political chaos

Published January 23rd, 2015 - 07:00 GMT

Following the resignation of the Cabinet, the president has himself resigned, according to Information Minister Nadia Al-Sakkaf.

Al-Sakkaf told the Yemen Times that Parliament has rejected the president’s resignation. Under article 115 of the Yemeni constitution, the president must wait three months before submitting a second resignation, which the Parliament cannot reject—in effect, leaving Hadi in power until April 22.

Attorney Abdulrahman Barman told the Yemen Times the vote would require 280 out of 301 votes in Parliament to reject the resignation. It is unclear how the Parliament was able to gather and vote so quickly after the president’s announcement of resignation.

“How did the vast majority of Parliament meet within half an hour to reject the resignation?” Barman asked.

According to Al-Sakkaf, Parliament will meet tomorrow to “resolve the issue and to discourage Hadi from resigning a second time.”

Under the current constitution -- the draft constitution remains under debate -- if the president is harmed and unable to continue, or if he steps down, the head of Parliament is to ascend to the position. The current head of Parliament, Yahya Al-Rayi, is a high-ranking member of the GPC and was injured in a 2011 attack on the Presidential Palace.  

However, the mandate of the current Parliament, which was elected in 2003, was due to expire after six years, in 2009. Under an agreement, the elections were postponed two years. Elections were due in 2011, but were postponed again following the 2011 uprising. The GPC holds 238 out of 301 seats in Parliament.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Initiative, signed on Nov. 23, 2011, transferred the powers of the presidency from 33-year ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh, to his deputy, Hadi, and formed a coalition government. The mandate for the new unity government under the GCC initiative was for a period of two years, and expired on Feb. 24, 2014.

The country’s peace talks, which brought together various political factions, as well as independent youth, women and other marginalized groups, extended Hadi’s term for an additional year, which is set to expire in February 2015. It also extended the Parliament’s mandate under President Hadi.

With Hadi’s resignation the initiative would no longer be in effect, according to Al-Sakkaf, and Parliament’s extended mandate would be dissolved, removing the possibility of Al-Rayi ascending to the presidency.

Following the Houthi takeover of the capital on Sept. 21, the president agreed to form a new government as stipulated in the Peace and National Partnership Agreement (PNPA). The Cabinet was sworn in on Nov. 9.

The resignation of the Cabinet followed a tense week of clashes and street battles in the capital between the Houthis and government troops. A ceasefire announced Monday afternoon fell through the next evening after the Houthis overtook the Presidential Palace and attacked the president’s personal residence.

A speech by Abdulmalik Al-Houthi Tuesday evening laid out four demands for the president, that Hadi accepted. The demands were to reform the National Authority for the Implementation of NDC Outcomes, amend the draft constitution, implement the PNPA, and for the government to secure Marib. 

The resignation letter from Bahah, first posted by Al-Sakkaf about 7pm on Twitter, was addressed to the president.

"We, the government of professionals, accepted to bear the responsibility of leading Yemen and its development in such complicated and difficult circumstances."

"Matters in Yemen are moving in a different direction," the letter reads, "we choose to distance ourselves from such destructive political chaos which is not based on either law or logical systems."

The prime minister said the government was unable to "serve the Yemeni people and this country to our best ability, conscience, and responsibility," and resigned in order to avoid being "made party to what is going on and what will happen."

© Copyright Yemen Times. All rights reserved.

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