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Houthis give Yemeni president ultimatum to form government

Shiite Yemenis, who have been controlling Sanaa since September 21, gave President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi a 10-day ultimatum to form a government or they will take over the country, Anadolu news agency said.

This warning came in a statement issued after the Houthis met with around 3,000 tribal leaders in Sanaa. "All revolutionary options are open if he fails to form a government," the statement said.

"Our next meeting will be at the headquarters of the decision making," AP reported Deif Allah Rassam, spokesman of the Popular Tribal Alliance, as saying. A second speaker at the rally, Naguib Al-Mansouri, called for the formation of a "salvation military council."

The statement also condemned the latest speech of the president, who denounced the role of the popular committee (tribal militias following the Houthis) as they were deployed to maintain security and bolster the army.

It also condemned that camps are being looted, noting that it is important for tribal militias to protect them. It deplored naming them "Takfirists."

The statement called for the formation of a government from the south and north of Yemen in order to find a "just" solution for the south, considering it an "important national" issue. It also denounced foreign interference in the country.

A power-sharing deal (Partnership and Peace) was signed last month, aimed at bringing the Houthis into government. When a new administration is nominated, the Houthis are meant to withdraw their forces from the city.

Houthi aide to the Yemeni President Saleh Al Samad said in his speech during the meeting: "This meeting comes along with the September 21 revolution leading to sovereignty, glory and dignity." He hinted that there are certain parties trying to implement obstacles ahead of the deal.

Formation of the government is part of the deal, which was hailed by the UN. The deal stated that the president would appoint a new prime minister after consulting with two advisers, one representing the Houthis and a second representing Yemen's southern region.

After naming a prime minister, the president, together with different political factions, will form a new cabinet, which will present its program to parliament within a month.

On October 7, Hadi asked Ahmed Awad, the director of his office, to form the government but the Houthis refused.

On October 12, Hadi chose the former Yemeni Representative to the UN Khaled Bahah to form the government and the Houthis accepted him.

Last Saturday, Bahah announced the distribution of the cabinet's seats: six seats for the Houthis, six for the south, nine for the ruling party, nine for the other political parties. Hadi is to name four sovereign ministers.

AP reported that this proposal was rejected by the political parties who demanded one of two options: either all 24 factions that signed the deal receive a ministerial portfolio or else a cabinet of independent technocrats with no party affiliations be formed.

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