Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Houthi Plot to Take Over Shura Council

Houthi Plot to Take Over Shura Council

Monday, 15 January, 2018 - 10:30
Houthi followers shout slogans during a gathering in Sanaa this week to celebrate their advances on forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh [File Photo: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters]

The Houthi insurgency in Yemen is expected to issue a number of resolutions to appoint dozens of its loyalists among the members of the Shura Council, sources with knowledge of the matter in Sanaa told Asharq al-Awsat.

Houthis have failed over the past few weeks to achieve the quorum needed for holding the parliament under their jurisdiction.

The Shura Council is the parliament's alternative and carries out advisory functions under the current constitution. It discusses draft laws before being submitted to parliament and consists of 111 members of experienced figures, tribal and community dignitaries appointed by the President.

A member of the Council, who refused to reveal his name for security reasons, said that Houthis seek to overcome the members' shortage, as some have died and others are in areas beyond their control.

The source confirmed that Houthi militias have proposed over the past few days dozens of names of loyalists, including tribal leaders and sectarian figures and businessmen, and asked the president of insurgency council Supreme Political Council Saleh al-Sammad to order the appointment of new members of the Shura Council.

In the same context, the insurgents asked the acting chairman of the council, Mohammed Hussein al-Aidarous, who is a supporter of the party of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, to launch the preparations for the convening of the council and call administrative staff to resume their work.

Houthis' Saba said that Aidarous chaired a meeting on Sunday of the administrative leaders and a number of the Council's staff. The meeting discussed the new action plan for the new year and ways to enhance performance level. It added that during the current stage, the Council requires the cooperation of everyone to achieve the required successes and strengthen the relationship between its department and administrations.

The former president had appointed several resigned government officials at the council, as well as tribal leaders and prominent figures from his opponents in an attempt to include them, even if it were just a formality.

After Houthis coup in Yemen in September 2014, dozens parliament and Shura members left Sanaa and joined the legitimate government.

Insurgency is keen to hold on to the remaining members of the two councils in Sanaa, most of them loyal to former President Saleh, which could give it a legal cover.

The internationally unrecognized Houthi government referred on Monday its draft spending plans to parliament for approval amid attempts to issue new laws that would allow collection of more money from merchants and businessmen to fund their militias.

A few days ago, insurgents made an undeclared decision obliging merchants to pay full customs duties on imports arriving in Sanaa and areas under their control, which would push commodity prices, including primary ones, according to economic observers.

This will create more deteriorated living conditions and leave citizens unable to keep up with the pace of new prices, in light of militias cutting salaries of employees and drying up sources that enabled thousands of poor families to earn a living.

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