April 23, 2011

Embattled Yemeni President Agrees To Step Down! Persistence Paid Off. Pray For A Positive Change In Yemeni Government!

The Telegraph UK
written by Jasper Copping
Saturday April 23, 2011

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the embattled President of Yemen, has agreed to step down and hand power to his deputy in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled for 32 years, has faced months of protests from an opposition movement which has accused his government of corruption and of failing to tackle the country’s poverty.

He has agreed to a proposal from mediators from the six nation Gulf Cooperation Council to stand down and pave the way for a new president to be elected.

Under the draft agreement, Yemen’s parliament would grant Saleh legal protection from prosecution and the president would submit his resignation and hand power over to his vice president, who would call for new presidential elections.

Soltan al-Barakani, deputy secretary general of the ruling General People’s Congress said: “The GPC and its allies have accepted the GCC initiative in its entirety.”

The protest movement which has been demanding Saleh’s immediate departure said that it also accepted the latest draft of the deal but with reservations.

They object to a clause that gives parliament, which is dominated by Saleh’s party, the right to reject the president’s resignation.

On Friday, protesters staged the largest of two months of demonstrations, filling a five-lane boulevard across the capital, Sana’a, with hundreds of thousands of people.

Schools, government offices and private companies were closed, in response to calls from the opposition for a strike to put more pressure on Saleh.

Protests continued yesterday with thousands involved in sit-ins at city squares in at least five provinces.

A crackdown by government forces and Saleh supporters has killed more than 130 people and prompted key allies to abandon the president and join the protesters.

Over the last two months, in the face of mounting opposition, Saleh has also offered concessions, including a pledge not to run again for president when his term is up in 2013 or allow his son to succeed him, but to no avail.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes powerful neighbour Saudi Arabia, has been seeking to broker an end to the crisis.

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