Yemen vote ensures Saleh's exit after 33 years

By REUTERS
February 21, 2012 15:43

 
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ADEN/SANAA - Yemen ushered Ali Abdullah Saleh from power after 33 years on Tuesday, voting to endorse his deputy as president, with a mission to rescue the nation from poverty, chaos and the brink of civil war.

Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the sole, consensus candidate, billed the vote as a way to move on after months of protests against Saleh's rule, but the president's sons and nephews still command key army units and security agencies.

"Elections are the only exit route from the crisis which has buffeted Yemen for the past year," Hadi, Saleh's long-time right-hand and former army general, said after casting his vote.

Five people were killed in violence in Yemen's south on Tuesday, where a secessionist movement is active, a reminder of the challenges Hadi will face in taming a nation where half of the population of 23 million owns a gun.

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