Yemen gets a new leader

It’s official. Yemen now has a new president in the form of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who took the constitutional oath on Saturday. The sole candidate in the presidential election held under an interim setup after former president Ali Abdullah Saleh signed an exit agreement, Hadi’s inevitable victory on the day of the polls was still celebrated by tens of thousands of Yemenis who were cheering for an end of an era amid hopes for a new dawn of the country’s politics.

Unfortunatley, a bomb blast in southern Yemen killed 26 the same day. This underlines the complex security equation in the country ridden with sectarian and tribal conflict and an active terror network. The election was boycotted in some parts of the country, principally in the south where anti-Sanaa secessionists hold sway. Yet the credible support for Hadi proves that the people have extended support to a leader other than Saleh even if he has been elected for a two-year period. Hadi faces an onerous task, that of overseeing parliamentary elections, evolving a new constitution and prizing the security forces’ from the control of Saleh’s relatives. All this along with unifying tribal ranks and other ethnic factions besides smoothing out an inclusive political process which will lead the country out of the morass it had been stuck into. Other equally serious issues are of a socio-economic nature and need to be addressed on an immediate basis. It was not only political freedom that the opposition groups and protesters were fighting for. Abject poverty, unemployment and failure of the state to address their basic needs had led to the outburst aimed at the past regime.

These are factors the new administration will have to bear foremost in mind as it takes control of the affairs of state. At the same time the opposition factions must work alongside the government and implore the people to exercise patience. There is no magic wand that can make these problems disappear in a single day or even months. As long as even small steps are taken and those reforms implemented that prove the state’s commitment to fulfilling promises made to the people, they will be more than happy to give the government time.

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