SANAA, Yemen, The party of slain former Yemeni President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, named a new leader to succeed him, the party said.

The General People's Congress party (GPC) elected 65-year-old Sadiq Abu Ras, as the new chief of the party.

The election took place at a first class hotel in downtown Sanaa, the rebel-held capital, where the GPC leadership met and named Abu Ras, amid a tight security presence outside the hotel.

"The position of the party remains steadfast against the aggressors (Saudi-led military coalition) on the soil of the Yemeni people," read the party's statement.

The party welcomed any political settlement that preserves unity, security, stability and sovereignty of Yemen.

The statement did not mention Saleh's death, but demanded the release of Saleh's family members, party's leaders and journalists of Saleh-owned television channel, Yemen al-Yawm, from Houthi-run prisons.

However, senior leaders of the party rejected the party's statement and the election.

"Any party's statement that does not publicly break relations with Houthi murderers and declare war against them does not represent us and is not our party," the GPC Secretary-General, Yasir al-Awadhi said.

Al-Awadhi has successfully escaped from Sanaa, though Houthi media reported its fighters killed him, along with Saleh, during street clashes last month.

On Dec 4, 2017, Houthi fighters killed Saleh, many of his family members and several of his party's leaders, after a week of deadly clashes that erupted, after Saleh switched sides of allies and declared "opening new page with the Saudi-led coalition."

Saleh, who ruled the country for 33 years and stepped down following the 2011 popular protests, had waged six wars against Houthi movement that ended in 2010.

However, Saleh allied with the Houthis and supported them, when they advanced from their far north stronghold of Saada province and stormed the capital Sanaa in Sept, 2014, where they overthrew Saudi-backed government and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.

Three years now into Yemen's civil war, over 10,000 Yemenis, mostly children, were killed, and three million others were displaced, creating one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.


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