Yemeni president to step down
Yemeni president Ali Abdullah declared Wednesday he would put off constitutional changes that would allow him to be president for life and had freeze a controversial April poll. "No to hereditary rule and no to life presidency," Saleh said during an emergency session of parliament and the consultative council ahead of a "day of rage" to be held Thursday by civil society groups and opposition leaders.
Saleh, whose term is due to end in 2013, called on a parliamentary opposition alliance known as the Common Forum to stop their street protests. The Yemeni parliament, dominated by Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC), had proposed a draft amendment of the constitution, which if approved, would allow Saleh to remain in office for life. Saleh, re-elected for a seven-year mandate in September 2006, stated in his address Wednesday the "freezing of constitutional amendments."
It is noteworthy that Saleh assumed the presidency of North Yemen in 1978 and became the president of the Arab Republic of Yemen in 1990 after the Union between the North and South Yemen.