President Saleh voted out of office in Yemen
Only candidate, Vice-President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi voted in
The curtains have fallen on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's
33-year-old iron-fisted rule of his nation. While Vice-President
Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was guaranteed victory by virtue of being the
only candidate, the election has given Saleh and his closest aides
immunity from prosecution for crimes committed during his reign.
Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in practice replaced Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh last June when the 69-year-old president was wounded in an assassination attempt and had to spend more than three months receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia.
The deal also stipulated that Hadi become the next president of Yemen for an interim two-year period. Hadi is a 66-year-old career soldier and was Saleh's vice-president since 1994.
Al Jazeera correspondent Hashem Ahelbarra says that residents of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa felt it was a religious duty to come and vote to end Saleh's rule.
"For these people the vote is not just about electing the single candidate, but to pave the way for Yemen to go forward. This is basically about restarting the nation from scratch," he said.
Hadi in practice replaced Saleh last June when the 69-year-old president was wounded in an assassination attempt and had to spend more than three months receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia.
Once formally elected, Hadi will begin making very important decisions. In chronological order, he will begin restructuring the army, start working on a new constitution and then Yemen will have its first free and fair elections.
On the eve of polling, violence flared in the south, where separatists seek a divorce from the north with which they fought a civil war in 1994 after formal political union.
The birth pains of the new nation were evident when officials warned attacks to disrupt polling were all but certain. An explosion rocked a polling station in the southern city of Aden and one soldier was killed and another injured as gunfire broke out after the blast.
The vote has also been denounced by youth activists who took to the streets to demand the end of Saleh's rule, and regard the transfer plan as a pact among the elite. Many regard the new regime as partners to the crimes of Saleh's tenure, including the killings of protesters in the uprising against him.
A security official said police had carried out "arrest raids on armed hardliners" from the Southern Movement trying "by force to prevent citizens from participating in the elections."
"These elements are trying to create a state of fear among citizens by spreading rumors that February 21 [Election Day] will see acts of violence," the official said.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Yemen, Ali Saleh, election, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi
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