New Yemeni gov't faces challenges

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Yemeni Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Wednesday declared in a decree the line-up of a new opposition-led government in accordance with a Gulf-brokered power-transfer deal.

Analysts described the forming of the new government as a vital step to restore stability in the volatile country, but its effective running faces challenges.

First, although the opposition coalition balanced the ruling party in the new government, the latter retained some key portfolios, political sociology professor in Sanaa University Ahmed Ateeq said.

From his point of view, the ruling party still has powerful influence by controlling key posts in the new government, such as ministers of defense and oil and minerals, which are considered respectively as headquarters of security forces and Yemen's pillar industry.

The 35-member cabinet consisted of two lists, each with 17 ministerial portfolios, as well as Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa. The ruling party took the ministries of defense, foreign affairs, oil and minerals, higher education and scientific research, communication and information technology, public works and roads and so on.

Meanwhile, the opposition coalition seized positions of the ministries of information, local administration, interior, finance, planning and international cooperation, education, technical education and vocational training, justice, legal affairs, industry and trade and others.

Five ministers of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government were appointed in the new one, including Abu Bakr al-Qerbi who retained his position as foreign minister.

Second, Ateeq said, the two sides could not see eye to eye on some issues despite the formation of a reconciliation government.

He added that whether the new government could work effectively or not depended on whether the two sides could work together, especially at a time when Yemeni political system and economy nearly fell apart.

While political analyst and columnist Abdul Ghani al-Maweri said the fate of the new government depended on the newly formed military committee which is chaired by Hadi and consists of 15 members from the opposition coalition and the ruling party.

The main task of the committee is to reconstruct the army and security units during the two-year interim period after Saleh stepped down under the Gulf Cooperation Council deal which he signed on Nov. 23.

The military committee will also work to put an end to all ongoing violence between rival forces and supervise the withdrawal of troops and opposition-led defected soldiers and armed tribal men from the streets of all provincial capitals, as well as other operational, procedural and policy matters related to the country's armed and security forces.

Al-Maweri said urgent affairs lying in front of Yemenis are ending civil clashes and restoring stability. If the military committee could succeed in stamping out violence around the country, the new government could possibly focus on achieving its main tasks and developing the country gradually.

He said the key to end the chaos was to eradicate the soil for corruption and the lack of justice.

Concerning personal competence of the ministers in the new government, professor of Sanaa University Najeeb Ghalab said though the line-up of the new government failed to meet demands of all walks of Yemenis, most of the newly-appointed ministers were prominent politicians, who could bring more sense of responsibility and capability of decision making.

Al-Maweri agreed with him, saying "if the government could work smoothly, it may become the strongest government ever in Yemen."



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