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Yemen's Saleh says won't extend his term as opposition threatens with protests

RIA Novosti

13:54 02/02/2011 MOSCOW, February 2 (RIA Novosti) - Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Wednesday he would not seek reelection after his term expires in 2013, international media reported.

His statement came on the eve of a Day of Rage protest demonstration that the country's opposition vowed to hold on Thursday, in the wake of the mass anti-government protests that have engulfed Egypt since last week.

Saleh, who like his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak has been in power for more than three decades since he became the president of North Yemen in 1978, called an emergency parliamentary meeting on Wednesday.

"No [term] extension, no inheritance," Saleh told parliament, as quoted by CNN, in an apparent reference to Mubarak's plans to leave the presidential office to his son.

Saleh also said he requested his General People's Congress (GPC) party to suspend debate on a constitutional amendment that would cancel presidential term limits and postpone the parliamentary polls due in April, in response to opposition demands.

The opposition coalition, Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), said it would still go ahead with the planned protests, CNN reported.

Mass protests, the first large-scale public challenge to Saleh in his 32-year rule, broke out in Yemen in late January, apparently inspired by a recent wave of protests in Tunisia. Last Thursday, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Sana'a demanding that Saleh leave office.

The Egyptian protests against Mubarak have also found support among Yemenis. About 100 people marched on Saturday toward the Egyptian Embassy in Sana'a, shouting slogans against the Egyptian leadership and demanding their own president step down.

In Egypt, about 300 people have been killed and several thousand injured since the outbreak of the protests on January 25. President Mubarak announced on Tuesday that he would not run in the presidential polls due in September, indicating that he was planning to stay in office for eight more months.

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