SANAA - Capping year-long protests that paralyzed the impoverished Arabian Peninsular country, longtime Yemeni vice president Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi took the oath of office as president on Saturday, February 25, formally removing Ali Abdullah Saleh from power.
Hadi took the oath pledging to "preserve the country's unity, independence and territorial integrity," Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.
Rising to take the oath, deafening applause filled the parliament chamber in the ceremony which was broadcast live by state television.
In an address to the nation straight afterwards, the new president said he had the political legitimacy to meet the challenges after winning overwhelming endorsement in a Tuesday election, in which his name was the only one on the ballot paper
He vowed to "turn a new page in the building of a new Yemen which unites all its citizens."
Official results released late Friday gave Hadi 99.8 percent of valid votes cast in the election in which turnout reached 60 percent nationwide.
Sending assurance messages to the West, the new Yemeni president pledged to fight al-Qeada in the
Yemeni territories. "It is a patriotic and religious duty to continue the battle against Al-Qaeda," the new president said.
Hadi added that Yemen must focus on tackling pressing issues such as Yemen's economic problems and bringing those displaced by the crisis back to their homes.
Furthermore, he promised to restore security across his impoverished nation "without which no economic development would be possible."
"If we don't restore security, the only outcome will be chaos," he said.
The swearing-in ceremony officially ends more than three decades of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh rule.
Saleh, who arrived back in Sanaa from medical treatment in the US earlier Saturday, is to formally transfer the reins of power in a ceremony at the presidential palace on Monday.
Under the UN-backed Gulf-brokered transfer of power deal, Hadi is to serve as president for an interim period of two years, after which presidential and parliamentary elections would be held.
During that period, Saleh will remain at the helm of his General People's Congress party, the largest in parliament, its spokesman, Deputy Information Minister Abdo Janadi, said.
The international community described the oath as a key step forward towards the stability of the southern Arab Peninsula country.
"Yemenis want an end to the crisis, and to turn a new page," said Jamal Benomar, UN envoy to Yemen, Reuters reported on Saturday.
Now it's time to rebuild, for consensus and concord... and to bring people into an inclusive political process.
The US ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, also welcomed the event as launching a new beginning for Yemeni people.
We are seeing the beginning of a process that I believe will deliver great results over the next two years," he said.
Yet, the long-running political crisis triggered violence that killed thousands of people since January 2011, caused the collapse of security situation and the economic sector in the impoverished country.
Some 42 percent of the population of 23 million live on less than $2 per day in a land where tribal loyalties remain central to society.
In a deeply tribal country, Saleh used to play out a complete system of patronage, granting some tribal leaders money, weapons, jobs and government positions in exchange for their loyalty.
Weakening tribes, his favoritism helped in emboldening Yemenis loyalty to individual tribes rather than their nation.
"If Abd-Rabbu Hadi doesn't rein in the mashayikh (tribal notables) then we'd be better off with Ali Abdullah Saleh," said Amin al-Sharaby, 24.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net