02/21/2012, 00.00
YEMEN
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Elections in Sanaa: the end (maybe) of Saleh’s power

Power will pass to the current vice president, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, the only candidate. The family of Saleh, who ruled the country for 33 years, remains at the head of the army, security and economy. Saudi Arabia and the United States support the old regime.

Sanaa (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The population of Yemen is now called upon to elect a new president, which should put an end to the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh, which lasted 33 years.

The elections are the result of almost a year of violent protests, hastily read as an "Arab spring".

Actually, Saleh signed an agreement that he would only resign once a new president has been elected. He himself yesterday urged the people to vote for Vice President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. The point is that Hadi is also the only candidate in the running and according to the electoral laws, there is there is no minimum percentage of voters to make the election valid. This means that Hadi will be elected anyway, even with only one vote. Sporadic violence was reported yesterday in some voting stations, one person was killed.

According to analysts, although Saleh will resign, his influence in the country remains very strong: his son and grandchildren are at the head of the army and security apparatus, and his relatives are at the top of many political and economic groups. He will remain in the country as the leader of the majority party, the General People's Congress Party.

He will still face a strong opposition that includes tribal, military and businessmen tired of the domination of Saleh family.

Last June, Saleh was attacked while praying in the mosque of the presidential palace and took refuge "for treatment" in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis (together with the U.S.) seem to be his biggest supporter, fearful of seeing the chaos in a neighboring country, where there are strong groups of Islamic radicals linked to al Qaeda.

 

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