Caution after Saleh signs GCC deal
There were mixed reactions to the news that President Ali Abdullah Saleh had finally signed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) agreement yesterday. He had failed to do so on at least three other occasions.
The signing took place in Riyadh the capital of neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
The agreement means that Saleh has signed over powers to his Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, although he will remain the honorary president for a further 90 days. Saleh is unlikely to be in Yemen for much of that time as he seeks further treatment in New York for injuries he received in a rocket attack on his presidential compound earlier in the year.
The deal then requires that the Vice President establishes a National Unity government made up of 50% the official opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) and 50% the ruling General People’s Congress (GPC). All parties were present at the siging.
The Vice president will also be expected to establish a military commission and call a presidential election within the three months.
Whilst there were celebrations in Sana’a’s Change Square, the epicentre of the protests since Febraury, there was also anger. Protesters are unhappy that Saleh will have immunity from prosecution and they are also concerned that the state apparatus, which is made up of Saleh family members and cronies, will remain. In particular they are unhappy that Saleh’s son, Ahmed Ali, will remain in charge of the Republican Guard.
The protesters have also complained that the deal involves the official opposition which has been around for years, but the agreement does not involve key protest movement representatives. As a result the protests are likely to continue.