After the formal resignation of Yemen's government bemoaning "an unconstructive political maze," President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said he was also standing down. Sanaa's parliament, however, refused his departure.
The Yemeni parliament was due to hold an emergency session on Friday, after it rejected the president's resignation on Thursday evening.
A government source said that Hadi's Thursday resignation was not the first to take place that day. Prime Minister Khaled Baha had earlier offered to the president his own request to stand down.
Baha's government said that it did not want to be dragged into "an unconstructive political maze," apparently referring to a stand-off between Hadi (pictured) - who is seen as a US ally - and the powerful Zaydi Shiite Houthi movement, which has been linked with Iran.
The news agency AFP cited Prime Minister Baha, in his letter of resignation, as saying he had felt unable to serve the country as he thought he should.
"The situation has evolved in a different manner and we decided to stay away from unconstructive policies that do not respect the rule of law," Baha wrote.
"We do not want to be a party to what is happening and what is about to happen," he said, adding that the government refused "to take responsibility for the actions of others."
Fighters remain around palace
Hadi had on Wednesday pledged political concessions in a nine-point deal with the Houthis who, in return, were expected to quit positions they had taken around the palace. However, the rebel fighters remained in place around the president's residence on Thursday.
Yemen has been troubled with instability since the departure of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2012.
Military officials close to Hadi were reported as saying the Houthis had pressured him to give a televised speech to calm the streets. They were also said to have demanded appointments in the presidential office, the defense ministry and provincial capitals.
However, the terms were believed to have proved too much for Hadi - who remained confined to his home - to concede.
Ally of former leader to take charge?
Under Yemeni law, the parliamentary speaker - Yahia al-Rai, a close ally of Saleh - would assume the presidency. Despite being deposed from power, Saleh is understood to retain influence and is understood to be allied to the Houthis.
Prime Minister Baha's technocratic government was formed in November as part of a deal brokered by the UN after the Houthis overran the capital in September.
While the rebels effectively control the capital Sanaa, and other parts of the country, their writ does not extend to vast areas of the country that are predominantly Sunni.
There was fighting in the oil-rich province of Marib earlier on Thursday, with Houthis demanding that a provincial governor be replaced.
rc/msh (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)