Yemen’s president has dismissed the incumbent Prime Minister Mohammed Salim Basindawa and his cabinet in a bid to end an ongoing standoff with the Shia Houthi protesters.
President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi made his decision during a meeting of outgoing ministers and representatives from various political parties on Tuesday.
Yemeni government sources say Hadi has also partially reversed an earlier decision to lift fuel subsidies.
Reports say Hadi is expected to appoint a new prime minister within a week.
This comes after Sheikh Sayyid Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, a leader of Shia Houthi fighters in Yemen, called for civil disobedience and expansion of protest rallies against the government.
The move by the Yemeni government is seen by political experts as a last-ditch attempt to end the current crisis.
However, Mohammed Abdulsalam, a spokesman for al-Houthi, has rejected the government proposal.
“We affirm that what was issued by the (government) committee is a position that represents it and we do not agree to it. Our position is still that we (stand) by the Yemeni people who have gone out in a blessed popular revolution to demand their legitimate and just rights,” Abdulsalam said in a statement on his Facebook page.
Houthis have been holding demonstrations since August 20 when they strengthened their positions in Sana’a.
The Shia movement and its supporters have been demanding the resignation of the government and the reversal of recent increases in fuel prices. In response, the government has only offered a cabinet reshuffle and minor reforms.
Houthis also accuse the government of corruption and marginalizing the Shia community.
The Houthi movement played a key role in the popular revolution that forced former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.
Saleh, who ruled Yemen for 33 years, stepped down in February 2012 under a US-backed power transfer deal in return for immunity, after a year of mass street demonstrations demanding his ouster.