SANAA - Ultra-conservative Salafists in Yemen have formed their first political party, urging recently elected President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to apply Islamic law to all areas of life and to reject interference by foreign powers.
Salafis, ultra-orthodox even among fundamentalist Muslims, have traditionally shunned politics. But the success of the Salafi al-Nour party in Egypt, which won the second highest number of seats in the first democratically-elected parliament in decades, may have changed that.
Salafists in Yemen said their new party would be called the Rashad Union.
"After months of studying and discussing the necessity of immersion in the political process, we have decided to found the Rashad Union," they said in a statement, describing participation as a religious duty.
They also called for talks with Sunni Islamist militants and northern Shi'ite rebels to end political upheaval that has pushed Yemen to the brink of civil war.