With all due respect to the new Interim Prime Minister of Yemen, Mohammed Basindwa, I simply do not feel he is capable of achieving any progress at such a difficult time in Yemen’s history.
Basindwa faces the general litany of problems such as electricity shortages, skyrocketing fuel and gas prices, a growing succession movement in the south, tribalism, on-going protests, an ever present threat of bankruptcy and more battles breaking out on a daily basis in multiple regions across Yemen. Each one of these problems alone could easily derail any ambition or hope that Basindwa brings into office.
More challenging, the typical problems facing Yemen aren’t even near the top of Basindwa’s current worries. Shortly after he was appointed, troops loyal to the ruling part began shelling residential neighborhoods of Taiz in a possible attempt to scuttle the Riyadh agreement. The fighting forced him to threaten the cancellation of national consensus government well before any steps were made to create it.
Yet the most dangerous problem facing Basindwa are the ones that haven’t even occurred yet. In less than 80 days, Basindwa will need to work with the General People’s Congress to prepare Yemen for nationwide elections.
Will Basindwa meet the challenging of preparing Yemen for the upcoming elections?
Most likely not.
This is simply because Basindwa brings the baggage of a typical opposition member and will be easily inclined to use the power of his title to seek vendettas against his foes rather than work with them to build the future of Yemen.
Basindwa has made token attempts to solve some of the problems that ail Yemen in his few days in power. Most notable are the energy agreements he has made with neighboring countries and his requests for Saudi Arabia to help create new development plans for multiple cities in Yemen. But these are too little to make any impact on the future events of Yemen.
Basindwa won’t be able to address the problems of Yemen on his own and he should recognize this. The only way that Basindwa can make a lasting impact in the next 80 days is if he overcomes a politician’s natural tendency and partners with his political opponents. Given the way he has started out, I am not hopeful he will.