Slain Yemeni President's party elects new leader
(5 months ago)
Sanaa, Jan 8 : The party of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh has named a new leader after he was killed last month by Shia Houthi rebels, his one-time allies in the countrys civil war.
The General People's Congress party (GPC) elected 65-year-old Sadiq Abu Ras, a former Agriculture Minister, as the new chief of the party, Xinhua news reported on Monday.
The election took place in central Sanaa, the rebel-held capital, amid a tight security presence.
"The position of the party remains steadfast against the aggressors (Saudi-led military coalition) on the soil of the Yemeni people," the party said in a statement.
The statement did not mention Saleh's death, but demanded the release of his family members, party's leaders and journalists of Saleh-owned television channel Yemen al-Yawm from Houthi-run prisons.
However, senior leaders of the party rejected the party's statement and the election.
"Any statement that does not publicly break relations with Houthi murderers and declare war against them does not represent us and is not our party," the GPC Secretary-General Yasir al-Awadhi tweeted.
On December 4, Houthi fighters killed Saleh, many of his family members and party's leaders after a week of deadly clashes that erupted after the former President switched sides of allies and declared "opening new page with the Saudi-led coalition".
Saleh, who ruled the country for 33 years and stepped down following 2011 popular protests, had waged six wars against Houthi movement that ended in 2010.
However, Saleh allied with Houthis and supported them when they advanced from their far north stronghold of Saada province and stormed the capital Sanaa in September 2014, where they overthrew Saudi-backed government and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.
In March 2015, the Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen to restore Hadi to power and roll back the Iranian-aligned Houthi-Saleh rebels.
Three years now into Yemen's civil war, over 10,000 Yemenis, mostly children, have been killed and three million others have been displaced, creating one of the world's worst humanitarian crisis.