As Yemen transitions towards democracy, it is organizing a presidential election with only one likely candidate: Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. And that idea is drawing wide support from opposition parties and Yemen’s diplomatic partners. For months, they have been pushing for the replacement of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who recently agreed to end his 33-year rule after months of protests against him.
Analysts say those with interests in Yemen’s future have differing motives for backing an uncompetitive democratic process. The election is scheduled for February. In the view of Yemen’s opposition coalition, known as the Joint Meeting Parties, Hadi is a neutral figure who played no role in Saleh’s violent crackdown on opposition protesters.
The 66-year old former army commander is a southerner who sided with President Saleh, a northerner, in a 1994 civil war and helped to defeat a southern rebellion. Hadi was rewarded with the vice presidency, but the post lacked influence until the president’s political demise this year.
Interview with Ibrahim Sharqieh:
Ibrahim Sharqieh, deputy director of the Brookings Doha Center, said Hadi also benefited from a brief stint as acting president while Saleh received medical treatment in Riyadh for wounds suffered in a June bomb attack in Sana’a.
“Hadi worked with the opposition closely and earned their trust,” he said.