Yemen names new prime minister to end crisis

The nomination of Khaled Bahah is a second bid to end Yemen’s political crisis

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Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi on Monday appointed former oil minister and the country's envoy to the United Nations, Khaled Bahah, as prime minister in a second bid to end the country's political crisis, a presidency source said.

Bahah, 49, was nominated after consultations with advisers “representing various parties,” the source said.

Hadi's move came after Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak rejected his nomination last week following strong opposition from Shiite rebels who overran Sanaa on September 21.

Bahah’s appointment is expected to help ease a political crisis triggered by the Houthis’ capture of Sanaa last month.

“We believe he (Bahah) is the right person (for the job),” said Abdelmalek al-Ejri, a member of the Houthi political bureau. “His appointment will help the country overcome the difficulties it is going through.”

Suicide bombers targeting the Houthis and an army camp killed at least 67 people last Thursday after Mubarak was forced to step down as prime minister after just hours in the job.

Bahah, who was born in 1965 and was educated at India’s University of Pune, served previously as oil minister before being appointed Yemen’s envoy to the United Nations.

His appointment comes under a power-sharing deal signed last month by the Houthis and other major political parties at Hadi’s presidential palace. The deal aims to bring the Houthis and the wing of a separatist group into a more inclusive government.

The Houthis, who have their main stronghold in the northern highlands of Yemen, alarmed top world oil exporter Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states when they seized Sanna after defeating forces loyal to an army general they accuse of being linked to a rival Sunni Muslim party.

The Houthis, who now control all aspects of life in Sanaa, have refused to leave the city until a new government is formed.

The United States and other Western and Gulf countries are worried that continued instability in Yemen could strengthen al-Qaeda. They have supported a U.N.-backed political transition since 2012 led by Hadi that is meant to shepherd Yemen to stability after decades of autocracy.

[With Reuters]

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