Houthis and Saleh forces clash in Sanaa, at least 2 dead

A supporter of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh holds his photo during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen. (AP)
Updated 27 August 2017

Houthis and Saleh forces clash in Sanaa, at least 2 dead

SANAA: At least two people were killed on Saturday when supporters of Yemen’s ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh clashed with Houthi fighters in Sanaa, marking unprecedented violence within the alliance fighting a Saudi-led coalition.
Members of the presidential guard exchanged gunfire with thae Houthi fighters who had tried to set up a security checkpoint near the home of Saleh’s son and his media office in an upscale district, residents said.
Intermittent fighting continued for several hours, cutting off access to a main road in the Hadda neighborhood, they said.
The Houthi-controlled state news agency SABA said two members of popular committees were killed in the violence. Media reports of more casualties on both sides could not immediately be confirmed.
The tactical alliance between Saleh and the Houthis has often appeared fragile, with both groups suspicious of each other’s ultimate motives and sharing little ideological ground.
Saleh rallied thousands of supporters in Sanaa on Thursday in a show of force a day after Houthi fighters decried him as “evil” and condemned his description of them as a “militia.”
Both sides jointly run northern Yemen and have been fighting the internationally recognized government, based in the south and backed by the Saudi-led coalition, for 2-1/2 years.
The coalition intervened in the civil war in 2015 to restore the government to power in Sanaa. But the conflict, which has killed at least 10,000 people, is in stalemate.
Big switches of loyalty are a feature of Yemen’s byzantine political landscape, particularly since 2011 “Arab Spring” unrest which led to Saleh’s fall in 2012.
 


Turkey’s rulers plot law changes to block breakaway parties’ power grab

Updated 28 May 2020

Turkey’s rulers plot law changes to block breakaway parties’ power grab

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP is working on a plan to stop parliamentary deputies from transferring to other parties

ANKARA: Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is looking at ways to change electoral laws in order to block challenges to power from two new breakaway political parties.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP and its nationalist coalition partner the MHP are working on a plan to stop parliamentary deputies from transferring to other parties — a move that has fueled rumors of an imminent snap election in the country.

Under Turkish election rules, political parties must settle their organization procedures in at least half of the nation’s cities and hold their first convention six months ahead of an election date.

Any political party with 20 lawmakers in Turkey’s parliament is entitled to take part in elections and be eligible for financial aid from the treasury for the electoral process.

The leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has hinted at the possibility of transferring some CHP lawmakers to the newly founded parties to secure their participation in elections.

Turkey’s ex-premier, Ahmet Davutoglu, and the country’s former economy czar, Ali Babacan, both longtime allies of Erdogan, recently left the AKP to establish their own opposition groups, and have come under pressure from the AKP and MHP to leave their parties out of the race.

Babacan has been critical of Erdogan’s move away from a parliamentary system of governance in Turkey to one providing the president with wide-ranging powers without any strong checks and balances.

“The AKP is abolishing what it built with its own hands. The reputation and the economy of the country is in ruins. The number of competent people has declined in the ruling party. Decisions are being taken without consultations and inside a family,” Babacan said in a recent interview.

He also claimed that AKP officials were competing against each other for personal financial gain.

Babacan, a founding member of the AKP, was highly respected among foreign investors during his time running the economy. He resigned from the party last year over “deep differences” to set up his DEVA grouping on March 9 with a diverse team of former AKP officials and liberal figures.

Berk Esen, a political analyst from Ankara’s Bilkent University, believes Babacan’s recent statements have angered Erdogan.

“As a technocrat, Babacan gains respect from secular circles as well as the international community, which Erdogan clearly lacks. Despite being in office for 13 years, Babacan has not been tainted by corruption allegations and is known as the chief architect of Turkey’s rapid economic growth during the AKP’s first two terms,” he told Arab News.

“The legislation that the AKP-MHP coalition is working on may prevent deputy transfer only in case early elections are scheduled for the fall. Otherwise, the newly established parties will most likely build their organizations across the country and become viable for elections by summer, if not the spring of 2021.”

If Davutoglu and Babacan were successful in capturing disillusioned voters, they could prevent the ruling coalition getting the 51 percent of votes needed to secure a parliamentary majority.