Yemen independent leader to form government

AP News
Posted: Nov 27, 2011 2:59 PM
Yemen independent leader to form government

Yemen's vice president issued a decree Sunday assigning a veteran independent politician to form a national unity government, Yemen's state TV reported, part of the power transfer deal signed by the president last week.

The TV said Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi's decree followed the part of the accord that required the new government to include equal number of ministers from the opposition and Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh's party.

The choice for premier, Mohammed Basindwa, an independent, held several positions in Saleh's government, including foreign and information minister.

The power transfer accord was welcomed by the U.S., which fears instability in the country that is home to one of the world's most active al-Qaida branches.

Saleh signed the power transfer deal after stalling for several months, as thousands of people demonstrated practically every day demanding his ouster.

Saleh met Sunday with supporters to brief them about the U.S.-backed Gulf Arab transfer deal, signed in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Wednesday.

The official SABA news agency said that during the meeting, Saleh announced an amnesty for people who committed "follies during the crisis," except for those who were involved in crimes and the attack on his palace compound in Sanaa in June. Saleh spent about three months in Riyadh recovering from severe burns after that attack.

Rejecting the deal because it gives Saleh immunity from prosecution, protesters have kept up demonstrations calling for Saleh to be put on trial on charges ranging from corruption to deadly crackdowns on protests.

If the Gulf deal holds, Saleh would be the fourth dictator pushed from power this year by the Arab Spring uprisings. But the agreement does not guarantee far-reaching political changes like those brought about by the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.