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
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin visits her 1990s work ‘My Bed’ at Tate Britain in London, where it is back on display from today
artsBut how does the iconic work stand up, 16 years on?
Life and Style
life + style
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor