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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 January 2021

Yemen announces new power-sharing Cabinet after reshuffle

The newly formed Yemeni government is led by former prime minister Maeen Abdulmalik

Yemen's President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi. Reuters 
Yemen's President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi. Reuters 

Yemen's President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi has announced a new cabinet featuring 24 ministers that represent various political factions.

The formation of the new government, which will be again led by Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik, is part a power-sharing agreement brokered by Saudi Arabia between the current Yemen government and the Southern Transitional Council, which was signed in Riyadh in November last year.

The new technocrat government is divided between South Yemen and North Yemen with 12 ministers from each region.

Defence Minister Mohammed Al Maqdishi and Finance Minister Salem Saleh Bin Braik retained their posts in the new government. Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, Yemen’s ambassador to the US, was named foreign minister in place of Mohammed Abdullah Al Hadrami.

The STC holds five ministerial portfolios in the new government, including the Ministry of Fishery and Agriculture, the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Civil Service and Insurance, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour and the Ministry of Public Works and Highways.

UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths welcomed the reshuffle as “a pivotal step towards a lasting political resolution to the conflict in Yemen”.

The government formation follows the redeployment of government and STC fighters, overseen by Saudi Arabia, from Aden and the southern coastal province of Abyan. Clashes between the two sides broke out in August last year, prompting the Saudi Arabia intervention to resolve differences.

The Kingdom leads a coalition supporting the Yemeni government against Iran-backed Houthi rebels who seized the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014 and control much of northern Yemen. The government and STC are allies against the rebels, but the rift between them derailed the war effort.

Mr Abdulmalik told state-owned Saba News that the move will allow the government to consolidate its position.

The STC also welcomed the formation of the new cabinet.

“We wish all success for the newly formed government and hope it carries out its duties, particularly saving the local currency, which is an immediate task,” an STC official in Aden told The National on Friday.

The new cabinet will convene in Aden in the coming days.

The newly formed government includes five pro-STC ministers.

Abdulnaser Al Wali, 61, an Orthopaedic surgeon and professor assistant in Aden university, has been appointed a minister for Civil Service and insurance, while Brig Salem Al Socotri, 50, a military figure from Socotra was appointed as Minister for Fishery and Agriculture.

Brig Al Socotri previously worked as a governor for Socotra province between 2016 and 2017.

Dr Mohammed Al Zaawari, 50, from Al Sabbaiyha in Lahj province, was appointed as Minister for Social Affairs and Labour.

Dr Al Zaawari was previously an active leader in the Southern Movement Al Hirak Al Janoubi.

Dr AbdulSalam Homaid, 60, who has been the general manager of Yemen’s petroleum company, a deputy in the Ministry of Oil and Minerals and chief of the economic department, has been appointed as Minister for Transport.

Manea Binyamin, 36, a young engineer from Hadramawt, was appointed as a minister of the public Works and Highways.

He was previously director of the Hadramawt electricity authority.

No women were included in the new government, a move that was controversial with some.

“I am not optimistic about this government at all,” said Hend Omairan, a Southern Human Rights defender, adding that such ignorance means that the civil state the government claims to be aiming for “remains a matter of slogans”.

“This government doesn’t represent the Yemeni people. It represents the political factions,” said Akdar Mukhtar, a female lawyer from Aden.

Updated: December 19, 2020 08:47 PM

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