Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi resigned on Thursday, just days after Houthi rebels besieged the presidential palace.
Hadi, a former general, blamed the Houthis’ control of Sanaa for impeding his two-year-long attempt to steer Yemen toward stability after years of secessionist and tribal unrest, Reuters reported Friday.
The resignation deprived the United States of a key ally in the fight against Al Qaeda and deepened Iran’s influence in the Arabian peninsula where it has been supporting the rebels.
“This is a coup,” said Ahmed al-Fatesh, a hotel security supervisor, suggesting Hadi had been bullied from office.
“The Houthis took power by force. Hadi is a legitimate president and was elected by more than six million Yemenis. Hadi tried to bring the political forces together.”
The Houthi movement said it had no official reaction as yet to Hadi’s resignation but urged Yemenis to stage mass rallies to show their support on Friday afternoon.
A statement urged the army to “uphold” its responsibilities and called on Houthi fighters to be on alert.
Hadi, who has led a United Nations-mandated bid to make political reforms and bury the autocracy and graft of the past, stood down shortly after Prime Minister Khaled Bahah had offered his government’s resignation, saying it did not want to be dragged into “an unconstructive political maze”.
This was a reference to a standoff between Hadi and the Shi’ite Muslim Houthi movement which this week has been holding the president a virtual prisoner in his official residence.
“We apologize to you personally and to the honorable chamber and to the Yemeni people after we reached a dead end,” a government spokesman quoted Hadi’s resignation letter as saying.
It was addressed to the speaker of parliament, who becomes interim head of state under the Yemeni constitution.
Sultan al-Atwani, one of Hadi’s advisors, told Reuters he had resigned after pressure and threats from the Houthis. He also said parliament would meet on Saturday to decide whether to accept or reject it.
– Contact us at [email protected]