Yemeni Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Dec 7 issued a decree setting up a unity government headed by opposition leader Mohammed Basindwa. The decision comes as part of an agreement to ease President Ali Abdullah Saleh out of power after 33 years in office and end months of public protests that have paralysed the country and pushed it to the brink of civil war. Half of the new Cabinet ministers are from the opposition, while loyalists of Saleh make up the rest, a condition stipulated in the Gulf brokered power-transfer deal signed by Saleh on Nov 23.
Yemen’s opposition Common Forum spokesman Mohammed Qahtan said last week that Saleh loyalists would keep the ministries of defence, foreign affairs, oil, telecommunications and civil services. The opposition would head the ministries of interior, finance, cooperation, information and human rights. The newly formed transitional Cabinet will carry out government duties for three months, after which elections will be held and Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi will formally take over the presidency.