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Yemen Feuding Parties Agree on Transitional Council

20 February 2015 14:16

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Yemen’s feuding parties have agreed on a “people’s transitional council” to help govern the country and guide it out of a political crisis, UN mediator Jamal Benomar announced.

The decision on Friday came after the takeover of power by the Houthi movement, a Shiite Muslim group, which led to the resignation of the president last month.

“This progress is not a (final) agreement, but an important breakthrough that paves the way towards a comprehensive agreement,” Benomar said in a statement.

As part of the new formula, Yemen’s old 301-member House of Representatives, made up overwhelmingly of MPs from the former ruling party thought to be sympathetic to the Houthis, will stay in place.

Instead of the traditional upper house, a new transitional council will consist of traditionally unrepresented sectors among Yemen’s formerly independent South, women and young people.

Together the two bodies will make legislation guiding Yemen’s transition.

Arrangements for the vacated presidency and ministries along with security required further dialogue, Benomar added.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from the capital Sanaa, Hakim Al Masmari, editor of the Yemen Post, said the agreement “shows that Yemen does not want a civil war”.

“This is a step in the right direction… just that fact that the opposing parties are talking to each other is positive.

“The deal has only been announced by the UN envoy which is very awkward. Political parties have not talked about this or announced about the deal,” Al Masmari said.

The transitional national council will be in charge to lead the country for the next two years.

“The representation will be 50 percent for southerners, 30 percent for women and 20 per cent youth. But again, the details about the distribution of these seats have not been agreed on,” Al Masmari said.

“It’s an initial deal and very far from a final deal.”

There was no immediate comment by the Houthis or the two main Sunni Islamist and socialist opposition parties.

Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall, reporting from the city of Taiz, said the atmosphere in the country remained tense.

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