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Yemen ruling party opposes Saleh's alleged support for Houthi rebels - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Yemen's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in February 2012 when he formally handed over power to his deputy. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images)

Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in February 2012 when he formally handed over power to his deputy.
(Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—Yemen’s former president and leader of the ruling General People’s Congress (GPC), Ali Abdullah Saleh, is facing strong opposition from within the party over his alleged support of the Houthi insurgency, GPC sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Ousted from power following a popular uprising in 2012, Saleh is believed to have facilitated the takeover of the capital, Sana’a, and large parts of Yemen by militants loyal to Shi’ite leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi in September.

Senior GPC members on Thursday held a meeting in the southern city of Aden to discuss reinstating Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who used to serve as Saleh’s deputy, as the party’s secretary-general, a senior GPC source who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media told Asharq Al-Awsat.

According to the source, Hadi’s reinstatement will be announced during the party conference set to be held in mid-December.

The rapid advances of the Houthi movement have fueled rifts within the GPC whose members are split between those who back Saleh and others who support Hadi. The situation took a dramatic turn last month when Saleh’s supporters dismissed Hadi and his aides from the party, a step that provoked an outcry among southern members who said it was “completely void” and violated party rules.

Saleh’s alleged support of insurgents and his attempts to dominate the GPC have been received with dismay across the region, Yemeni political sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“These actions contradict the immunity that was granted to Saleh in exchange for quitting politics and avoiding the obstruction of the present political settlement,” the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said.

Meanwhile, students from Sana’a University on Thursday protested against the presence of Houthi militants on campus.

The Shi’ite insurgent group controls most government and military buildings in Sana’a and has deployed thousands of its fighters across the country.

Foreign diplomatic missions to Sana’a have stepped up security measures as a precaution as the situation continues to deteriorate and weapons are proliferated in the almost complete absence of security services.