Feb. 21 - Yemenis vote in presidential elections in which outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh's deputy is the only candidate. Lindsey Parietti reports.
Yemen goes to the polls to elect its next president. "Today the people bring down the regime," these voters chant. But as they hail the removal of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, they make way for his deputy. Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is the only candidate on the ballot Tuesday, in a power-transfer deal sponsored by the country's Gulf neighbours to end last year's bloody uprising. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) YEMENI VICE PRESIDENT ABD-RABBU MANSOUR HADI, SAYING: "We come to this polling station and on this day we close a chapter and open a clean, white page in which to write the future of the new Yemen." Security was heightened in anticipation of more attacks from Islamist militants and separatists. Gunmen attacked a southern polling station Monday, and al Qaeda linked fighters killed an election official last week. Southern separatists have said they will boycott the vote, raising doubts about the legitimacy of the transition plan. But some, like protest leader and Nobel laureate Tawakkol Karman, are happy to see Saleh step aside. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) NOBEL PRIZE WINNER TAWAKKOL KARMAN SAYING: "This is the day of holy happiness, this the day of victory, now we are officially announcing the end of Ali Abdullah Saleh's era, thanks to god he is gone. Today we are building the new Yemen, we are building the democratic and happy Yemen that all of the youth and women have dreamed about." Hadi's new government will have to confront the country's many factions as it drafts a new constitution and attempts to restore stability. Lindsey Parietti, Reuters