Yemen opposition names candidate to government

Yemen's opposition parties have nominated the head of their coalition to lead the first government after veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to quit in 90 days, a spokesman said on Saturday.

Mohammed Basindawa, a former member of Saleh's ruling party, was chosen late Friday to head a national unity government, Mohammed Qahtan, the spokesman of the opposition Common Forum told AFP.

"His name will be presented today (Saturday) to Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi" who is now the executive president according to the Gulf-brokered deal signed Wednesday, he said.

Saleh signed the exit agreement in Riyadh after months of dodging domestic and international pressure to step down after 33 years in office.

According to the Gulf- and UN-sponsored roadmap, Saleh hands to Hadi "all powers necessary for proceeding with the Gulf initiative and its implementation mechanism and for organising early elections within a 90-day period which begins immediately after the signing."

Saleh remains as an honorary president during this period, while the opposition puts forward a candidate to head a national unity government.

Saleh on Friday, however, appeared to continue to perform his role, ordering from Riyadh investigations into the shooting on protests in Sanaa by loyalist gunmen -- in what was seen as a breach of the deal.

"We give President Saleh two days to stop those acts that are in violation of the agreement. In this transition period, the country is to be run according to the Gulf plan and its execution mechanism," said Qahtan.

Basindawa who was chosen to head the "National Council for the Forces of the Peaceful Revolution" after it was formed in August, served in governments under Saleh several times, including as a foreign minister.

Born in Aden, the capital of former South Yemen, Basindawa quit Saleh's General People's Congress some 10 years ago, becoming an opponent but without joining an opposition party.

Meanwhile, demonstrators in Sanaa's Change Square, the focal point of anti-Saleh protests that broke out in January, are due to hold a new rally Saturday afternoon.

The protesters reject the deal that gives Saleh immunity against prosecution, and are demanding that he be tried.

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