Yemen president sacks deputy, delegates presidential powers to council
Yemen's president has dismissed Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and delegated his own powers to a presidential council that will carry out leadership duties, Yemen's information minister said early on Thursday.
The new body will assume the duties of both the president and his deputy, said the announcement issued in the name of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The new council will carry out political, military and security duties for the Yemeni government during what it refers to as a "transitional period".
Hadi's statement said the move was taken in line with a 2011 power transfer initiative devised by the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the wake of anti-government protests and political upheaval in the country.
"With this declaration a Presidential Leadership Council shall be established to complete the implementation of the tasks of the transitional period. I irreversibly delegate to the Presidential Leadership Council my full powers in accordance with the constitution and the Gulf Initiative and its executive mechanism," the statement from Hadi said.
Seven years of conflict have divided Yemen between an internationally-recognised government led by Hadi and backed by Saudi Arabia based in the southern city of Aden, and the Iran-aligned Houthi group in the capital Sanaa.
The leadership council, made up of a chair and seven deputy chairmen, will be led by Rashad Al-Alimi, a security official who was interior minister during the former presidency of Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Alimi, who had been an advisor to Hadi, has the support of Saudi Arabia. He also has a close relationship with the major political grouping, the Islamist Islah party.
Deputy chairs include the leader of southern separatist group, the Southern Transitional Council, Aidarous al-Zubaidi.