Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi appointed a new vice president and prime minister, sacking current prime minister Khaled Bahah, sources told AFP news agency.
In a major shake-up of senior officials, Hadi named on Sunday as the new vice president General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a politically powerful army general who split violently with former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011 during the Arab Spring protests that eventually ousted Saleh.
The new prime minister, Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr, was a former official in Saleh’s General People’s Congress party before joining Hadi’s camp.
There was no immediate explanation behind Bahah’s dismissal, which comes just a week before a UN-brokered ceasefire planned between Yemen’s warring parties, which is expected to pave the way for peace talks in Kuwait on April 18.
But government sources have in the past spoken of differences between the president and Bahah, who had served as Yemen’s envoy to the UN before Hadi appointed him as foreign minister and then prime minister.
In December, Hadi reshuffled his cabinet, naming new foreign and interior ministers in a move that was understood to be aimed at smoothing his relations with Bahah.
Hadi has also recently been involving Ahmar more actively in decision-making, appointing him in February as armed forces deputy commander in an effort to rally support from tribes and troops in the rebel-held region around Yemen’s capital.
Ahmar’s troops played a prominent role in the 2011 uprising that ousted strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose loyalists are now allied with Iran-backed Shia rebels in control of Sanaa.