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Rifts deepen within Yemen’s ruling General People’s Congress party - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In this January 21, 2014 file photo provided by the Yemeni Defense Ministry, Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi speaks during the closing session of the National Dialogue Conference in Sanaa, Yemen. (AP Photo/Yemen Defense Ministry, File)

In this January 21, 2014 file photo provided by the Yemeni Defense Ministry, Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi speaks during the closing session of the National Dialogue Conference in Sanaa, Yemen. (AP Photo/Yemen Defense Ministry, File)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—Discord intensified within Yemen’s ruling General People’s Congress (GPC) after senior members announced their rejection of the recent decision to sack President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi from his post as the GPC’s secretary-general, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned.

In a meeting held in the southern city of Aden on Thursday, more than 200 GPC officials said the decision was “completely void” and contradicted the party’s internal system. According to observers, the crisis threatens to lead to defections within the party.

On November 9, the GPC, led by the country’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, sacked Hadi and his aide Abdul Karim Al-Iryani from the party’s leadership. The decision is thought to have been taken after the UN Security Council approved sanctions against Saleh and Houthi commanders.

Thursday’s meeting called on the GPC’s permanent committee to “renege on its decisions and apologize to those affected.”

Political sources who requested anonymity because they were not permitted to brief the media told Asharq Al-Awsat the measures against Hadi had caused “major rifts” within the party.

While the source denied earlier reports of Hadi freezing assets belonging to party members who support Saleh, he said the GPC was beset by “real differences” that were tantamount to “defections.”

In a statement, Hadi’s supporters said the decision was “non-binding,” and vowed to “continue dealing with [Hadi and Iryani] as legitimate leaders who were elected during the party’s seventh general assembly.”

They threatened to take further steps during a party meeting next week if the decisions against Hadi and Iryani remained in place.

The ruling party remains split between supporters of Hadi and those backing Saleh, who was forced to step down in 2012 following a popular uprising. Under a Gulf-brokered deal, Saleh agreed to move aside in favor of Hadi, who was tasked with overseeing a peaceful political transition in the Arabian peninsula’s poorest country.