Saturday, February 25, 2012

Yemen: Obama praises presidential election with single candidate



Wonder of wonders the sole candidate for president of Yemen Major General Mansour Hadi won the election. Hadi served as vice-president under Saleh and is strongly backed by the U.S. Saudi Arabia and other members of the GCC.

The GCC brokered a deal for former president Saleh to step down. Saleh and all his cronies and family were given amnesty for any crimes they may have committed such as killing their own people. The legislators decided they would extend the amnesty to themselves.

President Obama cheered on the election process and even suggested it could be a model for other Middle East elections. Huh! Single candidate elections with the candidate a military person anointed as successor by the former dictator! Perhaps Obama would like to import the model for the next U.S. election and not bother to have a Republican opponent!

Many groups have boycotted the elections. Just hours after Hadi was sworn in as president a suicide attack in the south on a presidential palace killed at least 25 people. Another 30 were wounded in Mukalla the provincial capital of Hadramaut. Most of the dead were members of the elite Republican Guard.

While AL Qaeda claims responsibility for the attack, southern separatists also operate in the area. They boycotted the elections along with rebels in the North as well. Those who protested for democracy in Yemen are also unhappy with the deal that gave Saleh and others amnesty and replaced one set of old guard leaders by another group of the same type. For more see this article. Former president Saleh who had been receiving medical treatment in the U.S. returned to Yemen to witness the swearing in of Hadi. Salehs relative remain prominent in the new government especially in the security forces.

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