Yemeni Vice President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi issued a decree Sunday (November 27th) calling on opposition candidate Mohammed Salem Basendwah to form a national reconciliation government.
One of the provisions of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) initiative that President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed on November 23rd in Riyadh to end his 33-year rule, was that the opposition could name the next head of the national unity government.
According to the agreement, half of the cabinet positions will be held by the General People's Congress Party (GPC) and its allies and the other half by the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) and its affiliates.
One of the first tasks of the national reconciliation government will be to administer the early elections process. Both sides agreed to support Hadi as a consensus candidate to serve as president for two years. During this period, a new constitution will be drafted, the army and security forces will be restructured, and a national conference will be held to address the nation's problems.
The agreement stipulates that members of the new government cannot belong to any party that has been directly or indirectly involved in violating human rights, restricting the freedoms of citizens, or in the violent acts that were committed against the demonstrators. It also requires that government decisions and House of Representatives resolutions be agreed upon by both the opposition and the GPC.
In a press conference Sunday, Abdo al-Janadi, Yemen's deputy minister of information, called on the JMP to "honour their pledge and commitment to the GCC initiative and embrace the demands of independent youth who do not belong to any political party". He also asked them to stop using the media to incite more protests and to seek peace in order for the agreement to be implemented.
"Independent youth" is a reference to the demands made by demonstrators in many public squares calling for a trial of Saleh and the rejection of the GCC initiative.
"The president sacrificed for the sake of his people and departed honourably, making him the first Arab president to voluntarily choose to give up power and join the opposition," al-Janadi told Al-Shorfa.
Radwan Massoud, a youth revolution leader, told Al-Shorfa, "The revolutionaries not only demand that Saleh vacate power but also that he be tried for the crimes that were committed against the protesters."
Demonstrators continued their marches in several provinces in the three days following the signing of the initiative. They chanted slogans denouncing the opposition JMP's signing of the agreement and said they would continue to protest and demand that Saleh face a trial.
Mohammed Qahtan, the official spokesman for the JMP, said signing the initiative is an important step to rebuild Yemen. He added that the opposition is committed to implementing all the initiative's provisions led by a national reconciliation government that will be headed by the JMP.
Asked about the revolutionary youth's stance in rejecting the agreement, Qahtan said, "The agreement assigns the national reconciliation government with conducting a dialogue with the youth in the squares and working toward meeting their demands. The constitution guarantees them the right to peaceful protest until their goal of building a civil state based on equality in rights and duties is achieved."