Most of the factions in Yemen's tumultuous political scene have agreed to form an interim presidential council to manage the country for up to one year, Reuters reported. The move comes just as an intensifying power struggle led to worries of the troubled nation's collapse.
The dominant Houthi movement had previously set a Wednesday deadline for political outfits to come to a power sharing agreement, failing which it would impose its own solution.
Delegates from the meeting told Reuters that nine factions, including one from the separatist Herak group, agreed on a five-member presidential council that will be headed by Ali Nasser Mohammed, former president of South Yemen.
Delegates confirmed that the Islamist Islah party and the Yemen Socialist party, which ruled South Yemen before it merged with North Yemen in 1990, had not yet responded to the agreement, but were expected to do so soon.
Yemen had been in a state of crisis ever since the government of Prime Minister Khaled Bahah resigned, two weeks after the Houthis took control of the presidential palace and confined President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to his residence.
European officials had reportedly earlier been opposed to the idea of a presidential council as a solution. Houthi member Ali al-Amad said on Facebook, "The Europeans threatened to cut off aid and impose economic and media blockades on the country if we opted for a presidential council that represents all factions," Turkish Weekly reported.
The Houthis confirmed that they did not enforce their Wednesday deadline because the parties seemed to be close to a consensus. The Iran-backed Shi’ite rebels have become the kingmakers of the country since they seized the capital of Sanaa in September, and have been heavily involved in negotiations to get the country out of its current crisis.
Protests against the Houthis, who sometimes violently disrupted the demonstrations, have taken place in cities across Yemen, Al-Arabiya reported.