Motion to Give Yemen Strongman Greater Controls is Defeated
ADEN, South Yemen (AP) _ The Central Committee of the ruling Yemeni Socialist Party on Wednesday defeated a motion by strongman Ali Salem al-Beidh to gain greater controls over the country, party officials said.
The decision came in an all-night session that ended at dawn.
Al-Beidh, secretary-general of the ruling Marxist-style party since the 1986 civil war, had proposed doubling as chairman of the presidium in a revamp of the three top executive posts.
Party officials said al-Beidh’s objective was to achieve equal ranking with North Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who with al-Beidh has been leading the drive for a swift merger of the two countries. The unification deadline is Nov. 30, but both al-Beidh and Saleh have expressed hopes it might come sooner.
Al-Beidh wanted to replace Heider Abu-Bakr al-Attas as head of state, naming Attas prime minister in place of Yassine Saeed No’man, who would devote himself to party affairs.
Al-Beidh planned to name party assistant secretary-general Salem Saleh Mohammed as deputy presidium leader, or vice president.
″Al-Beidh had to withdraw his proposal,″ said one party source, who spoke on the condition he not be identified.
″There was no agreement on the proposed changes because it was viewed that there was no need for changes in the executive, legislative and party leadership at present,″ the source said.
Al-Beidh and Salem Saleh Mohammed have been the key figures in the country since the split within the ruling party in January 1986 that led to civil war and the defeat of former President Ali Nasser Mohammed.
Attas, who was then prime minister and on a visit to the Soviet Union, South Yemen’s ally, was chosen as their front man and named president.
Attas has been more of a figurehead president, while al-Beidh has spearheaded the current march toward unity with the North Yemeni leader since Nov. 30.