Houthi leader calls for national dialogue on Friday
SANA’A, Jan. 28—In a televised speech delivered on Tuesday night, Houthi leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi called for a meeting to be convened on Friday to discuss the current government crisis.
Al-Houthi called on religious scholars, academics, politicians, tribal leaders and others citizens to take part in what he called “an exceptional meeting” to address the current deadlock, following the resignations of President Hadi and the Cabinet on Jan. 22.
Al-Houthi stressed his group’s willingness to ensure a peaceful transition, and called on other factions to support efforts to find a peaceful resolution.
Mohammad Al-Bukhaiti, a member of the Houthi Political Office in Sana’a, confirmed that the meeting will take place in Sana’a on Friday, although the exact time and place is yet to be determined. He said priority will be given to implementing the Peace and National Partnership Agreement (PNPA), signed Sept. 21, as well as finding solutions to the current political impasse.
“A new power will be forged after the meeting, as President Hadi’s page was turned with his resignation,” said Al-Bukhaiti. “Negotiations are ongoing to find an agreeable substitute for the president, someone able and willing to implement the demands already put forth by Abdulmalik Al-Houthi.”
These demands, laid out by Al-Houthi in last week’s televised speech, included calls to reform the National Authority for the Implementation of NDC Outcomes, amend the draft constitution, implement the Peace and National Partnership Agreement (PNPA), and to seek a resolution to the security situation in Marib.
Unlike the leader’s previous speech on Jan. 20, which was aired on the Houthi-affiliated Al-Masira channel, Tuesday’s speech was broadcast by the state-owned Yemen TV channel. According to Adnan Al-Raheji, a Yemeni political analyst and journalist at the Yemeni-based independent news website Khabar, it is an indication of “the full dominance of Houthis over media and decision-making.”
Yemen TV’s news director, Tawfik Al-Sharabi, resigned from his post last week Tuesday in response to Houthi interference with the channel’s editorial policy and alleged censorship.
Keen to avoid full responsibility for the public backlash that has followed President Hadi’s resignation, the Houthis’ leadership is calling a meeting out of self-interest as much as national interest, Al-Raheji said.
“The Houthis will risk declaring a new presidential council with a new president on Friday. They want to involve as many political, social and religious factions as possible to avoid any fallout, and they don’t have the support of the international community on their own,” he said.