Saudi-backed Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is taking a rare trip out of Saudi Arabia this weekend, landing in the Yemeni city of Sayoun for a visit to the country he nominally rules, and to attend the first meeting of parliament since the Saudi invasion in 2015.
For the Saudi-backed government to have both its president and its parliament in place at once is unheard of, though the legitimacy of either is in such serious doubt that in many ways it will be seen as a farce.
Yemen’s parliament, after all, was elected way back in 2009, before the Arab Spring, and their six-year term in office ran out in 2015, about the time they were run out of the country by the Houthi movement.
Four years later, that parliament still claims legitimacy, and will be overseen by Hadi, a president who was “elected” in a UN-mandated single candidate vote in 2012 for a two year term in office, and who over five years after his term ran out still purports to be the legitimate president.
That all these terms in office long since expired has been largely ignored internationally, because the Saudis are backing them, though in practice the Saudi interest is mostly that neither the parliament not the president are Shi’ites.