Yemen’s new president Abed Rabo Mansour Hadi took the oath of office before the country’s parliament Saturday. He replaces Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled the country for 33 years before leaving office in a power transfer deal aimed at ending over a year of political turmoil.
Hadi, who was Saleh’s vice president, was formally inaugurated following a single-candidate presidential election earlier in the week.
In his televised speech, Hadi swore to keep up Yemen’s fight against Al-Qaeda-linked militants, who took advantage of the country’s upheaval to seize control of several parts of the country.
He also pledged to work to bring home the thousands of internal refugees created by fighting between government troops, southern separatists, mutinous military units, tribal movements, and numerous other factions.
“One of the most prominent tasks is the continuation of war against Al-Qaeda as a religious and national duty, and to bring back displaced people to their villages and towns,” Hadi said.
Hadi received over 99 percent of the ballots cast in presidential elections in which he was the only candidate.
The election was arranged as part of a US- and Gulf-backed power transfer deal signed in November. Washington has played an active role in the transition, in hopes that Hadi can head off chaos and ensure cooperation against the country’s active Al-Qaeda branch, which has targeted the US.
Saleh meanwhile returned to Yemen early Saturday after spending about three weeks in the US receiving treatment for injuries he suffered during a June rocket attack on his compound that helped hasten his departure.
Saleh is the fourth Arab leader swept from power by the Arab Spring.