Yemen bomber is killed in failed attack on voting centre

Incident in Aden comes one week before nation's presidential election.

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SANAA // A man was killed yesterday when a bomb went off as he was planting it in a voting centre in Aden.

Authorities are investigating the attack, which happened a week before the February 22 presidential elections.

Interim leader of the country and vice president Abdurabu Mansur Hadi is the sole and hand-picked candidate to replace the outgoing president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Activists in Yemen's south are calling for a boycott of the election, saying it fails to meet their request for independence lost when the southern state merged with north Yemen in 1990. Other groups are calling for actions to prevent the poll from taking place at all.

Mr Saleh signed a deal in November, brokered by his Gulf neighbours and backed by the United States, to pass power to his vice-president. In return, he received immunity from prosecution, as did members of his inner circle.

Meanwhile, Shiite Houthi rebels announced yesterday that they would boycott the vote in their stronghold, the northern province of Saada, but not take steps to prevent it.

The rebels, who fought a sporadic war against the government since 2004, said in a statement it was the right of the southern separatists to prevent the elections in the regions where they represent the majority.

Western diplomats, who held talks with the Houthi rebels, warned them against using any violence to prevent voting. The same message was to be delivered to the southern separatist movement leaders, a western diplomat said this week.

Mr Hadi, who has been endorsed by all parties represented in parliament, will run the country during a two-year period leading to parliamentary elections and a new constitution.


The National


& Mohammed Al Qadhi on