Yemen’s parliament approves new Cabinet
SANAA // Yemen’s parliament yesterday approved a new government despite months of violence and political wrangling that has shaken the country.
Parliament’s approval could ease tensions but it is unlikely to resolve the power struggle between President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi and the Shiite Houthi rebels who in September seized control of the capital, Sanaa, and are allied with loyalists of former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Houthis’ power grab was met with suicide bombings and deadly attacks, mainly by Sunni rivals from Al Qaeda and allied tribes.
A strong explosion rocked a Houthi-occupied house in the port city of Hodeidah on Thursday, killing one and wounding 11, according to a medical official. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack.
Also, the group said it was behind twin suicide bombings that targeted a Houthi leader south of Sanaa on Tuesday – a day that left 26 people dead, including 16 girls whose school bus was hit.
Al Qaeda denied targeting the school bus and accused the Houthis of firing grenades that struck it.
The Houthis had pressed Mr Hadi to form a new government, which would give them more say in political affairs. Believed to be Iran-backed, the Shiite rebels have become key power brokers since they overran Sanaa.
The 301-seat legislature did not release a tally on Thursday’s vote, but more than 200 lawmakers at the session voted by a show of hands and overwhelmingly approved the 36-member government, led by Prime Minister Khaled Bahah.
Wrangling over the new government and the Houthis’ military expansion around Sanaa and in other strategic provinces have driven Yemen deeper into turmoil.
Saleh and his loyalists, who form the majority in parliament, have called on the government to explicitly denounce UN sanctions against the former president and two top Houthi leaders. Mr Bahah’s government has vowed to respect the sanctions.
Last month, the UN Security Council imposed an asset freeze and a global travel ban on Mr Saleh, the rebel group’s military commander Abd al-Khaliq al-Houthi, and the Houthis’ second-in-command, Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim.
* Associated Press
Published: December 18, 2014 04:00 AM