Moscow Lauds Presidential Elections in Yemen

Russia has lauded Yemeni efforts in organizing and carrying out early presidential elections in the Arab state amid political uncertainty and spreading anarchy, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Wednesday.

“We hail the efforts of the Yemeni authorities who provided voting in the earlier stated date, as well as the active participation of the people [in the election process],” Lukashevich said.

The results of the election, with a voter turnout of approximately 80 percent, will be announced later this week.

Yemeni Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was the sole candidate in Tuesday’s elections, is facing a formidable task of setting up a national dialogue on a new political system and drafting a new constitution in the next two years.

Lukashevich added that Russia is still willing to render Yemen all the necessary assistance “both within bilateral and the multilateral formats.”

Tuesday’s vote was part of a deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council and backed by the West in a move to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh following year-long public protests against his 33-year rule.

Though Saleh has stepped down in exchange for immunity from prosecution for him and his family, the clashes in Yemen have not stopped.

The security situation in the country is aggravated by the presence of al-Qaeda militants in Yemen’s restive south, a brewing Shi’ite Muslim revolt in the north and an apparent split in the military.

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