Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned to Yemen today, formally transferring his powers to Major General Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and issuing a “general amnesty” for some of the political prisoners the regime arrested during pro-democracy rallies.
Under the deal Hadi will retain the position of “Vice President” for the time being, while Saleh will hold the title, but not the powers of the presidency. Hadi issued a decree today naming opposition MP Mohammed Basindwa the prime minister.
Basindwa’s appointment came in the wake of a GCC-brokered transfer deal which would have Hadi supported “unanimously” in his position, while allowing an opposition figure to take the position of prime minister. Basindwa will now have to try to form a “unity” cabinet.
The move was applauded internationally, but has been criticized by protesters because it allows Saleh to escape prosecution. The deal also doesn’t assure major changes to the existing political system, raising the prospect that Hadi will simply replace Saleh as “dictator for life.”
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