Yemen’s Saleh formally steps down after 33 years

SANAA — Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down after 33 years at the helm on Tuesday at a ceremony at the presidential palace in Sanaa, formally handing power over to his deputy, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi.

By (AFP)

Published: Mon 27 Feb 2012, 2:34 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 2:26 PM

‘I hand over the banner of revolution... to safe hands,’ said Saleh, the fourth veteran Arab leader to fall in just over a year, standing beside Hadi.

Yemen’s new president will serve for an interim two-year period as stipulated by a Gulf-brokered power transition plan signed by Saleh last November.

Hadi, meanwhile, cautioned that the past year of political turmoil that has crippled the economy and unleashed nationwide insecurity was not over yet, and appealed to Yemenis to ‘cooperate with the new leadership’ to help the country emerge from the crisis.

He said he hoped that at the end of his two years in office, Yemen could have a peaceful transition of power.

‘I hope we will meet in this room again... to bid farewell and welcome a new leadership,’ Hadi said. ‘I hope that in two years, I will stand in President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s place and a new president will stand in mine.’

Hadi took the oath of office in front of Yemen’s parliament on Saturday, and in his first speech as new leader, vowed to fight against Al Qaeda and restore security across his impoverished nation.

‘It is a patriotic and religious duty to continue the battle against Al Qaeda,’ he said. ‘If we don’t restore security, the only outcome will be chaos.’

Hadi was elected in a February 21 presidential poll in which he received 99.8 percent of the votes cast in an election that saw a 60 percent nationwide turnout.

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