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Yemen’s General People’s Congress Caught between Houthi Violence and Ending their Alliance

Yemen’s General People’s Congress Caught between Houthi Violence and Ending their Alliance

Monday, 1 January, 2018 - 08:45
Supporters of Yemen's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh hold up their weapons during a rally in Sanaa in 2015. (Reuters)

Efforts are underway in Yemen among the General People’s Congress of late President Ali Abdullah Saleh to hold a meeting for the general committee as soon as possible, revealed prominent sources.

The committee, which acts like a politburo, is headed by Sheikh Sadeq Amin Abou Ras.

The meeting would be aimed at reaching an official stance over the late president’s murder. It would also set the Congress’ future steps and fate of its partnership with the Houthi militias.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a group of Congress leaderships in Sanaa prefer not to be hasty in holding the committee meeting. They are concerned that the gatherers would not be able to take effective stances that reflect the sentiment of the party’s popular base in wake of the Houthi oppression.

“A group within the party, led by speaker Yehya al-Rai, is trying to obtain guarantees from the Houthis that the Congress would retain the greatest possible independence away from internal meddling in exchange for maintaining the alliance against the legitimate government forces and Arab coalition,” revealed the sources.

Another group includes prominent leaderships, lawmakers and tribal leaders, whose allegiance is close to that of the legitimate government. They are however refraining from expressing their true stances because they fear Houthi reprisals, they said.

This group believes that it is no longer acceptable to continue with an alliance with a bloody gang that killed the Congress’ head and dozens of its members.

It therefore supports the postponement of the committee meeting because a strong stance that opposes the Houthis will not be able to be taken.

Another group seeks to close the chapter of the former president and keep the Houthi alliance in exchange for pledges that include the release of Saleh relatives from detention, holding a popular funeral for him and unfreezing assets seized by the militias. They are also demanding an end to persecution against them.

These varying stances among various groups within the Congress in Sanaa will make it difficult for Congress leaderships elsewhere to unite their ranks and avert divisions.

The party, which has ruled Yemen for 33 years, is on the brink of breaking into three wings. The first led by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and members of the legitimate government, the second led by Saleh’s relatives and supporters, and the third will become part of the Houthi alliance and act as the group’s political front.

In this regard, Yemeni political researcher Thabet al-Ahmedi said that the Congress is still living in the shock caused by Saleh’s murder.

“No one has awaken yet from it and the solution lies in the hands of the legitimate government that should organize itself militarily and recapture the country,” he told Ashar Al-Awsat.

“Should this not happen, then everything will fall apart, including the General People’s Congress,” he warned.

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