Wednesday, February 22, 2012

At least 10 die in Yemen election violence

SANAA, Yemen, Feb. 22 (UPI) — Election Day violence in Yemen claimed the lives of several people, including three soldiers, the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum said.
The death toll from Tuesday’s violence varied, with Middle East Online reporting 10 deaths and Yemen’s Saba news agency reporting four.
Yemeni electoral officials said turnout reached 60 percent as Yemenis voted to end President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year rule, despite calls to boycott the election, Middle East Online reported Wednesday. Saleh’s ouster was part of a Gulf States-backed agreement.
Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi was the only candidate on the ballot. He will serve for two years as the country’s leaders prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections.
Despite several reports of violence across the country, election officials said the general election Tuesday went smoothly, Saba said.
Middle East Online reported the Southern Movement seized control of about half of the polling stations in Aden and attacked several others.
Medical personnel and security officials said at least 10 people died in Aden and other southern cities.
The transition agreement Saleh signed in November granted him immunity from prosecution and stipulated Hadi be lone candidate on Tuesday’s ballot.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the vote “another important step” in Yemen’s “democratic transition process.”

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