Yemen Votes to Oust Saleh

Abed Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi voted in as new president
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2012 7:34 AM CST
Yemen Votes to Oust Saleh
Yemeni men show their inked thumbs after casting their votes at a polling center in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Yemen came together after a year of unrest today, voting out President Ali Abdullah Saleh in favor of his former vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi. The New York Times reports that turnout in the capital, Sanaa, appeared high and spirits were similarly high, despite the fact that the election is mostly symbolic: Hadi is the only candidate on the ballot. But one shopkeeper noted that Yemenis are fine with that: "If there was more than one candidate, then they would start killing each other and we are sick of the killing," he said. "It's finished," added a taxi driver, noting that checkpoints were closing while streets were opening. "The situation is improving."

Hadi is supported by the opposition as well as Saleh's supporters, since Saleh—who hopes to retain influence in the government—is himself behind the transition. Even so, much work remains to be done, including restoring Yemen's ability to fight al-Qaeda, which increased its influence in the country during the power vacuum. And the violence continued following a polling station explosion yesterday: At least eight soldiers were killed at southern polling stations, where separatists had called for a boycott; half of the polling stations were closed. And the BBC reports that the rebellion is still ongoing in many parts of the country (More Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi stories.)

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