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Yemen's president backs down from re-election plans

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh says he won't run for re-election once his term expires in 2013 in the wake of growing protests over his political and economic policies.

Ali Abdullah Saleh

Growing protests have forced President Ali Abdullah Saleh not to seek reelection

Yemeni leader Saleh said Wednesday that he would step down when his term expires in 2013. He also said he would put on hold constitutional changes that would guarantee him presidency for life and that he had postponed parliamentary elections planned for April.

He also promised that he would not pass on power to his son, who had been mooted as his successor. Saleh has been in power since 1978.

Addressing parliament ahead of a planned 'day of rage' by disenchanted civil society and opposition groups, Saleh attempted to preempt the mass protests in the wake of similar uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. "No extension, no inheritance, no resetting the clock, " he told parliamentarians.

Opposition leaders have said the planned rallies will go ahead despite Saleh's intervention.

Tensions in Yemen have increased over rising food prices and an unemployment rate of around 40 percent.

Around one third of the population suffers from acute malnutrition. Saleh is seen as a key US ally in the fight against the al-Qaeda offshoot, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and has been trying to reach a peace deal with Shiite rebels in the north and at the same time attempting to quell seperatism in the south.

Author: Rob Mudge (AFP, reuters, dpa)
Editor: Michael Knigge

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