Yemen president to step down

October 8th, 2011 - 10:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Sana’a, Oct 8 (IANS) Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh Saturday said he will leave power in the coming days, Xinhua reported.

In a speech, addressed to a gathering of high-ranking parliamentary officials in Sana’a and aired on state television, Saleh said: “I always reject power and I will continue to reject it, and I will leave power in the coming days.”

Yemen has been gripped by a more than eight-month-long political crisis since the eruption of protests in late January to demand an immediate end to Saleh’s 33-year-old rule.

Protesters demand that Saleh end his three-decade-long rule because of his perceived lack of democratic reforms, alleged widespread corruption and human rights abuses carried out by him and his allies.

On May 18, 2011, Saleh agreed to sign a deal with opposition groups, stipulating that he would resign within a month. On May 23, Saleh refused to sign the agreement, leading to renewed protests and the withdrawal of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) from mediation efforts in Yemen.

Born in 1942, Ali Abdullah Saleh is the first President of the Republic of Yemen. He previously served as President of the Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen) from 1978 until 1990, at which time he assumed the office of chairman of the Presidential Council of a post-unification Yemen.

He is the longest-serving president of Yemen, ruling since 1978.

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