President answers questions


President Abd Rabbuh Mansour al-Hadi has been interviewed by the leading Arabic daily newspaper Asharq Al Awsat for the first time since his election on 21st February.

In the interview a candid president admitted that the economy was broken and that groups such as Al Qaeda were feeding off the resentment and unemployed youth in the country.

When asked, what are the key priorities of his presidency, he answered, national dialogue, including a conference of comprehensive national dialogue where no-on would be excluded. He also said that restructuring of the armed forces would be a key priority through a military commission to move the army away from personal loyalties, partisan and tribal affiliations.

The interviewer was keen to find out the relationship between the president and the prime minister. The president was able to confirm that the two men were working wel together towards the same objectives and that they both considered themselves fedayeen (someone willing to make sacrifices). The president stated that “We sincerely and honestly look forward to concluding our political careers with an accomplishment that I wish would be unprecedented in the service of the Yemeni homeland, people, and land. I wish to tell you that we are in total agreement on the articles and general topics of the action program during this stage. There is absolutely no room for disagreement”.

When asked about the nature of the future political system, the president explained that after 21st February (the date of the presidential election) the country had entered into a second transitional phase. It would be the decision of the conference of comprehensive national dialogue to decide if the new system was presidential or parliamentary, and the electoral system one of proportionate lists or a numerical system.

On the economy the president stated that much work was needed to restore the status of the economic and investment institutions. He said that administrative reform and the activation of the public sector was needed. He also mentioned the need to activate the free zone in Aden, based around the port. Finally, he stated that the friends of Yemen group meeting in Riyadh this month and the donor’s conference would be key to the future success of the economy of Yemen.

The full text of the interview can be found here.

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