Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi (‘Abdrabbuh Manṣūr Hādī; Arabic: عبدربه منصور هادي [ˈʕæbedˈrɑb.bu mænˈsˤuːr ˈhæːdi]; born 1 September 1945) is a Yemeni politician and former Yemen Armed Forces field marshal. He has been the President of Yemen since 27 February 2012, and was Vice President from 1994 to 2012.
Between 4 June and 23 September 2011, Hadi was the acting President of Yemen while Ali Abdullah Saleh was undergoing medical treatment in Saudi Arabia following an attack on the presidential palace during the 2011 Yemeni uprising. On 23 November, he became Acting President again, after Saleh moved into a non-active role pending the presidential election "in return for immunity from prosecution". Hadi was "expected to form a national unity government and also call for early presidential elections within 90 days" while Saleh continued to serve as President in name only. Mansour Hadi was chosen as a president for a two-year transitional period on February 21, 2012, in an election in which he was the only candidate. In January 2014 his mandate was extended for another year. However, he remained in power after the expiration of his mandate.
On 22 January 2015, Hadi resigned. Consequently, the Houthis seized the presidential palace and placed him under virtual house arrest. A month later, he escaped to his hometown of Aden, rescinded his resignation, and denounced the Houthi takeover as an unconstitutional coup d'état. The Houthis named a Revolutionary Committee to assume the powers of the presidency, as well as the General People's Congress, Hadi's own political party. On 25 March 2015, Hadi reportedly fled Yemen in a boat as Houthi forces advanced on Aden. He arrived in Riyadh the next day, as Saudi Arabia began a bombing campaign in support of his government. In September 2015, he returned to Aden as Saudi-backed government forces recaptured the city.
Hadi was born in 1945 in Thukain, Abyan, a southern Yemeni governorate. He graduated from a military academy in the Federation of South Arabia in 1964. In 1966 he graduated after receiving a military scholarship to study in Britain, but does not speak English.
In 1970, he received another military scholarship to study tanks in Egypt for six years. Hadi spent the following four years in the Soviet Union studying military commanding. He occupied several military posts in the army of South Yemen until 1986, when he fled to North Yemen with Ali Nasser Mohammed, president of South Yemen, after Ali Nasser's faction of the ruling Yemeni Socialist Party lost the 1986 civil war.
Hadi played a low-profile role during the Aden Emergency. Following the independence of South Yemen, he rose to prominence in the new military, reaching the rank of Major General.
He remained loyal to President Ali Nasser Mohammed during the South Yemen Civil War, and followed him into exile in neighboring North Yemen. During the 1994 civil war in Yemen, Hadi sided with the Yemeni government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and was appointed as Minister of Defense. In this role he led the military campaign against the Democratic Republic of Yemen. Following the war he was promoted to Vice President on 3 October 1994, replacing Ali Salim Al-Beidh, who had resigned and fought against the government during the civil war.
Hadi was the sole candidate in the presidential election that was held on 21 February 2012. His candidacy was backed by the ruling party, as well as by the parliamentary opposition. The Electoral Commission reported that 65 percent of registered voters in Yemen voted during the election. Hadi won with 99.80% of the vote and took the oath of office in Yemen's parliament on 25 February 2012. He was formally inaugurated as the president of Yemen on 27 February 2012, when Saleh resigned from the presidency and formally ceded power to Hadi.
In March 2013 the National Dialogue Conference was conceived as a core part of the transition process and is intended to bring together Yemen's diverse political and demographic groups to address critical issues. In January 2014, Hadi pushed delegates at the conference to break a deadlock on key issues and bring the talks to an overdue close. When those in attendance finally agreed on a final few points, he launched into an impassioned speech that led to a spike in his popularity. It was agreed that Yemen would shift to a federal model of government in the future, a move which have been proposed and forcefully backed by Hadi. For the Houthi's this decentralization was less attractive. Their mountainous region is the poorest of Yemen and decentralization would mean that it would receive less money from the central government. They also didn't like that the new regional borders would rob them of access to the sea.
In a move to unify the Armed Forces of Yemen which suffered from split since the Yemeni Revolution, Hadi began reforming the Military. He issued Presidential decree №104 of December 2012 reorganizing the Military into 5 main branches: Air Force, Army (Ground Force), Navy and Coastal Defence, Border Troops and Strategic Reserve Forces, which includes the Special Operation Command, the Missile Defence Command and the Presidential Protective Forces. The Strategic Reserve Forces replaces the Republican Guard.
From his early days at office, Hadi advocated fighting Al-Qaida as an important goal. In a meeting with British Foreign Secretary, William Hague in his first days at office Hadi said "We intend to confront terrorism with full force and whatever the matter we will pursue it to the very last hiding place".
The Yemeni military has suffered from sharp divisions since Major General Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar defected in late March 2011 amid protests demanding the ouster of Hadi's predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh. The military protests extended to the Republican Guard based in the south of Sana'a when dozens from the Fourth Brigade closed down southern entrances to the capital city and demanded the firing of the brigade's commander, Mohammad Al-Arar, and his general staff.
In an interview in September 2012 to the Washington Post, Hadi warned that his country, still reeling from the popular uprising that ousted Saleh, risks a descent into a civil war "worse than Afghanistan" should an upcoming months-long national dialogue fail to resolve the state's deep political and societal rifts. He also said that Yemen was facing "three undeclared wars" conducted by al Qaeda, pirates in the Gulf of Aden, and Houthi rebels in the north, and that Iran was supporting these adversaries indirectly without giving further details.
Houthis, on their side, complained of murder attacks on their delegates to the NDC.
Hadi was forced to agree to a power-sharing deal after the fall of Sana'a to the rebel group Houthis in September 2014. The Houthis refused to participate in the "unity government", although they continued to occupy key positions and buildings in Sana'a and hold territory throughout northern Yemen. Hadi was further humiliated when the General People's Congress ousted him as its leader and rejected his cabinet choices on 8 November 2014.
Three days after Hadi's resignation (21 January 2015), the Houthis took over the presidential palace Hadi and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah tendered their resignations to parliament which reportedly refused to accept them. Then the Yemeni cabinet was dissolved. Hadi and his former ministers remained under virtual house arrest since their resignations.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for Hadi to be restored as president after the Houthis installed themselves as the interim government in February 2015. According to Houthi-controlled state media, Hadi reaffirmed on 8 February that his resignation was "final" and could not be withdrawn.
However, after leaving Sana'a and traveling to his hometown of Aden on 21 February, Hadi gave a speech in which he presented himself as Yemen's president and said the actions taken by the Houthis since 21 September were unconstitutional and invalid.
On 26 March 2015 Saudi state TV Al-Ekhbariya reported that Hadi arrived at a Riyadh airbase and was met by Saudi Arabia Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud as Saudi Arabia and its allies launched airstrikes in Yemen against the Houthis in the 2015 military intervention in Yemen. His route from Aden to Riyadh was not immediately known.