Just a day after Yemen’s Houthi rebels have a collection of political parties 72-hours to agree upon a plan for the transition of power, those parties have cut ties with the Houthis and are now talking about reconvening parliament.
They’re arguing there is no question about how to proceed, that the parliament’s speaker should be president until new elections are held. That’s what the old constitution says, but since they were in the middle of negotiating a new constitution when President Hadi resigned, it’s not so simple.
Whether they like it or not, they also have to contend with the Houthis, who have de facto control over the capital city of Sanaa and much of the country’s west coast. They’re a force to be reckoned with, and parliament can’t really ignore their wishes for a different transition of power, particularly with them threatening to impose their own solution unilaterally later this week if the parties don’t figure it out.
The Houthis don’t seem interested so much in seizing power outright as getting a settlement that benefits their political allies. How easily a new election can be organized is in serious doubt even with their support, but without them, there’s virtually no chance of having a credible vote.