Yemen said on Friday that more than 60 percent of eligible voters had taken part in a one-candidate election to replace outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh with his deputy Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, though many areas of the country boycotted the poll.
Mohammed Hussein al-Hakimi, head of the body that oversaw Tuesday’s election, said 6.6 million people voted out of a total of some 10 million who registered, plus others who were of voting age but had not been registered.
“This number...6,653,192 who voted for the presidential candidate, represents 99.8 of valid votes, and renders him (Hadi) the victorious candidate,” he said.
“We wish him success in his future duties. Peace and God’s blessings be upon you.”
A total of 15,974 voters marked ballots to indicate they did not approve of Hadi’s candidacy, he added.
A high turnout was deemed crucial to Hadi’s legitimacy, but the vote was rejected in advance in wide swathes of the country, notably the south, where secessionists urged a boycott.
Meanwhile, Hadi “will take the oath of office in parliament on Saturday, February 25, and the inauguration will follow on Monday, February 27, in a ceremony at the presidential palace during which Ali Abdullah Saleh will officially hand over power to him,” a statement from the commission said.
Saleh, who is a long-time U.S. ally, returned to his home in Sana’a late on Friday after receiving medical treatment in the United States, a spokesman for Yemen’s embassy in Washington said.
Saleh, 69, arrived in the United States in January to receive treatment for wounds inflicted during an assassination attempt last year.
Saleh is the fourth veteran Arab leader unseated by “Arab Spring” protests. The United States and oil giant Saudi Arabia fear unrest in impoverished Yemen, which faces a range of security challenges and is the operational base for the regional wing of al-Qaeda.
Transferring power to Hadi will put the seal on a hard-won November transfer of power deal, under which Saleh agreed to step down in return for a controversial promise of immunity from prosecution over the deaths of hundreds of people during 10 months of protests against his 33-year rule.
Saleh’s rule of Yemen formally ended on Tuesday, the start date of the uncontested election.