December 10th, 2011
Yemen's new unity government is in place, tasked with guiding the volatile country toward a critical presidential election in February.
The state-run Saba news agency said the unity government was officially sworn-in Saturday in the capital, Sanaa. The Reuters news agency reports the new government then met for the first time, chaired by Yemeni Vice President Abd al-Rabuh Mansur Hadi.
The new 35-member Cabinet itself is being headed by veteran politician Mohammed Basindwa. The ministerial posts are equally divided between President Ali Abdullah Saleh's party and the opposition. Mr. Basindwa is from the opposition.
Saleh loyalists will run the ministries of defense, foreign affairs and oil, while the opposition will head the ministries of interior, finance and information.
Saturday's swearing-in brings Yeminis one step closer to ridding themselves of President Saleh, who ruled for 33 years. Even though Mr. Saleh is no longer running the government, the deal sponsored by Gulf nations allows him to remain president in an honorary capacity until the election.
Despite the deal removing Mr. Saleh from power, thousands of Yemenis have been taking to the streets in the capital to express their displeasure with the deal. Many say it was wrong for Mr. Saleh to be granted immunity.
Hundreds of people have died since Yemenis first started pushing for a change earlier this year. Many protesters say they want Mr. Saleh to stand trial in Yemen for possible crimes.