Yemen's Hadi takes oath as car bomb kills 26 in south

 

Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi became Yemen's new president today, formally removing autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh from power, as a car bombing in the south of the country underscored the violence that will be the new leader's greatest challenge.

The car loaded with explosives killed at least 26 people and injured dozens when it was driven towards a presidential palace in the southern Yemeni city of Hadramout, far from the capital Sanaa where Hadi was sworn in.

A former army general, Hadi stood as the sole candidate to replace Saleh in a power transfer deal brokered by Gulf neighbours and backed by Western powers. He was elected after more than 60 per cent of eligible voters took part in an election this week.

Saleh's departure makes him the fourth Arab leader to be removed from power in more than a year of mass uprisings that have redrawn the political map of the Middle East.

Hadi said in a speech that Yemen must draw a line under a year of protests and violence and tackle pressing issues such as Yemen's economic problems and bringing those displaced by the crisis back to their homes.

"I stand here in a historic moment... I look to the Yemeni people and give them thanks. The crisis reached every city and village and house, but Yemen will continue to go forward," Hadi said. "If we don't deal with challenges practically, then chaos will reign."

After his speech, protestors in the southern city of Aden clashed with security forces, injuring four people, medics said.

Yemen's richer neighbours, led by Saudi Arabia, crafted the power transfer, also backed by Washington and a U.N. Security Council resolution, to ease out Saleh, who had ruled Yemen for 33 years.

One of the poorest countries in the Middle East, Yemen had already been fractured before the revolt against Saleh's rule, with separatists in the south, Shi'ite rebels in the north and an active wing of al-Qa'ida.

There are fears that chaos in Yemen could empower the country's branch of al-Qa'ida near major oil shipping routes.

Hadi now is tasked with overseeing a proposed two-year political transition that envisions parliamentary elections, a new constitution and restructuring of the military in which Saleh's son and nephew still hold power.

Hadi made a point to single out al-Qa'ida as a top priority for his new administration: "Continuing the war against al-Qa'ida is a national and religious duty."

The international community described the oath as a key step forward.

"Yemenis want an end to the crisis, and to turn a new page. Now it's time to rebuild, for consensus and concord... and to bring people into an inclusive political process," said Jamal Benomar, UN envoy to Yemen.

The US ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, said: "We are seeing the beginning of a process that I believe will deliver great results over the next two years."

Hadi's inauguration ceremony is scheduled for Monday, which Saleh is to attend. Saleh returned to Yemen yesterday after seeking treatment in the United States for injuries suffered in a assassination attempt last year.

A high election turnout was deemed crucial to Hadi's legitimacy, but the vote was rejected in advance in wide swathes of the country, notably the south, where secessionists urged a boycott.

Some 42 percent of Yemen's population of 23 million live on less than $2 per day in a land where tribal loyalties remain central to society.

"If Abd-Rabbu Hadi doesn't rein in the mashayikh (tribal notables) then we'd be better off with Ali Abdullah Saleh," said Amin al-Sharaby, 24, after gunmen loyal to a tribal leader scuffled with bystanders outside door of parliament, and beat a man with the butts of their rifles.

Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones