SANAA, (Reuters) – Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh appointed a new prime minister on Saturday as international pressure builds on the country to introduce reforms, a government official said.
Saleh, who was re-elected in September, issued a presidential decree asking Ali Mohammed Megawar, who is seen to have stronger economic credentials than the outgoing premier, to form a new cabinet. “We expect new faces in the new cabinet,” an official told Reuters. “I do not think it would be announced before one week.”
Analysts in Yemen said Saleh took this step to show the donors, such as the World Bank, that he was serious about political and economic reforms.
It was not clear if the oil minister will remain in his post.
Megawar, 54 and French-educated, has held two ministerial posts in the past five years, becoming the minister responsible for electricity in 2006.
The outgoing premier Abdul-Qader Bagammal “will continue in his position as secretary-general of the ruling party,” a senior official said.
In January, the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corp said it was doubling the size of its global trade finance programmes to $1 billion to boost emerging markets including Yemen.
Yemen’s cabinet approved in Nov. last year, a 1.622 trillion rials ($8.24 billion) draft budget for 2007 with a deficit of 188.3 billion rials, officials said.
Yemen– which receive grants and long-term loans from donor countries– produces 400,00 barrels per day of crude only and is estimated to have exported 333,000 bpd in 2005.