Yemeni leader calls for elections to be held in February

Dissident Yemeni protesters shout slogans as a protestor waves a Yemeni flag in Sanaa on Saturday.

Story highlights

  • White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan urges unity and peace
  • Yemen's vice president issues a decree calling for a vote to be held February 21
  • President Saleh agreed on Wednesday to step down from power
  • The decree stipulates that the vote be monitored by an election committee
Yemen's vice president called Saturday for presidential elections to be held in February, state media reported.
Vice President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi issued a presidential decree for the vote to be held February 21, according to the state-run SABA news agency.
The decree comes just days after President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to step down from power after months of protests against his 33-year rule. He became the fourth leader to leave office as a result of the Arab Spring unrest that has roiled much of the Middle East and North Africa this year.
The deal, brokered Wednesday by the Gulf Cooperation Council and signed in Saudi Arabia, allows Saleh to retain the title of president for three months until elections are held, but requires him to hand over executive powers to Yemen's vice president.
The presidential decree issued by Hadi calls for the elections to be monitored by the Supreme Committee for Elections and Referendum, SABA reported.
White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan spoke to Hadi on Saturday, congratulating the vice president and the people of Yemen on initiating a political transition.
Brennan stressed the importance of the ruling party and the opposition working together, and the need for all parties to refrain from violence, according to a White House statement.
"The two agreed on the need to quickly implement the terms of the November 23 political settlement so that the legitimate and richly deserved aspirations of the Yemeni people can be realized," it read.