Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Sunday decreed the Supreme Committee for Election and Referendum to be moved from national capital of Sana'a into the Arab Sea port city of Aden, seat of his internationally recognized government.
The decree comes two days after Houthi group had announced in Sana'a launch of arrangements for by-elections to fill in vacant seats in the Yemeni Parliament.
Under Hadi decree, the SCER would work and exercise authorities in Aden, and government "has to rapidly provide administrative and fiscal facilities for the Committee."
The decision invalidates all Houthi changes on the SCER, issued before or after the decree.
Yemen has been divided since the beginning of war in the country, between the Iranian-backed Houthis and Hadi government backed by Saudi-led coalition that has launched thousands of airstrikes to instate its ally into the rebel-held Sana'a.
In his Sunday ruling, Hadi ordered Supreme Judicial Council to question and take punishment actions against the judges who accepted to work in the SCER under Houthi instructions.
He also authorized the Public Prosecution to "investigate those who issued such invalid" instructions.
Last Friday, Houthi rebels stated that the SCER at Thursday meeting ordered its general secretariat and departments to take steps needed for legislative vote.
The SCER "discussed at an extraordinary session, chaired by Judge Mohammed Abdullah al-Salimi .. Parliament letter (8) dated 29 January asking by-election," Sana'a-based Houthi-run Saba reported.
The report has not mentioned if the election would be to replace the dead MPs only or even the absentees.
The Yemeni Parliament has been experiencing division since the beginning of war in the Arabian Peninsula country, with most of its members in Houthi-held areas holding semi-regular sessions in Sana'a, including Speaker Raa'i. But their number has increasingly declined following former president Ali Abdullah Saleh's murder in his house by Houthis on the 4th of December, 2017, two days after he declared his GPC party's disconnection from partnership with Houthis and called for uprising against the group.
The Houthi declaration coincided with Had government's arrangements for parliament official session in Aden, a move faced by many obstacles, particularly resistance by the Emirati-backed armed Southern Transitional Council to such a session in the port city.
It has been impossible for Yemeni Parliament to meet in Sana'a for lack of quorum needed, and MPs flight from Houthi-held areas has enabled Yemeni legitimate government and Arab coalition to magnetize great deal of them and to hold session with the required quorum. This, however, is still facing many obstacles.
Under Yemeni constitution, Parliament session needs more than 135 members to be present, or more than half of the 269 members alive and able to attend. The Yemeni Parliament consists of 301 MPs in total, but 32 are dead or disabled.