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Houthis Exclude Saleh by Monopolizing Coup Council | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Houthi militants ride on the back of a patrol truck as they attend a tribal gathering held to show support to the Houthi movement in Sanaa, Yemen November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Riyadh – As Houthi rebels refused to hand over the leadership of the political council to the General People’s Congress, which is headed by former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, questions were raised over the escalating dispute between Yemen’s two insurgent groups.

An agreement reached between the Houthis and Saleh supporters in July 2016 stipulated that Houthis and the General People’s Congress should assume the presidency of the so-called political council by rotation.

However, during an extraordinary meeting held in Sanaa on Tuesday, Houthi rebels have agreed to extend the term of the current president and their own representative, Saleh al-Sammad, whose term was supposed to end in December 2016.

In this regard, the insurgents led news agency, Saba, reported that the members of the political council have unanimously agreed, during their extraordinary meeting, to extend the current president’s term for two consecutive terms of four months each.

The members justified their decision by claiming that it reflected “satisfaction with the performance of the current presidency in light of the complexities of the situation.”

Based on the former agreement between the insurgency allies, the current presidency should be handed over to the General People’s Congress and its allies.

Yemeni political writer Hamdan al-Alyi said that these measures represented an intentional concession by Saleh and his allies in order to further implicate the Houthis in the coming days.

In remarks to Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Alyi said: “This measure (and the concession) in favor of the Houthis is aimed at involving them more (in the state administration) because Saleh and the General People’s Congress do not want to assume the responsibility of the state administration in such a situation.”

“The Congress and Saleh know very well that if they assume power, the first issue they will have to face is the employees’ salaries – an issue that is difficult to deal with at this stage,” he added.