Profile: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh

14:30, June 05, 2011      

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Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has arrived in Saudi Arabia to get medical treatment after he was wounded in a rocket attack on his palace. Following is a profile of the Yemeni leader:

Saleh was born in March 1942 in a village near Sanaa. He didn't finish primary schooling before taking up a military career in 1958.

In 1964, Saleh graduated from a military academy in Sanaa and served in the armored forces until he was appointed military governor of Taiz.

In July 1978, he was elected president of North Yemen after his predecessor was killed in a bomb attack a month earlier. Saleh had been the leader of North Yemen until 1990 when he assumed the office of chairman of the presidential council of the Republic of Yemen, which was formed by the merger of North Yemen and South Yemen.

In 1999, Saleh became Yemen's first directly elected president in the first presidential election of the unified Yemen, winning 96.3 percent of the vote.

After the 1999 elections, the Yemeni parliament passed a law extending presidential terms from five to seven years. In September 2006, Saleh was re-elected to a seven-year term, garnering 77.2 percent of the vote.

In late 2010 and early 2011, protestors began to call for the end of Saleh's three-decade-long rule.

In February 2011, Saleh announced that he would not seek re-election in 2013, but would serve out the remainder of his term. He has recently promised to step down in weeks in return for immunity from prosecution.

On Friday, Saleh was wounded in an attack on the presidential palace. Other senior officials also suffered serious injuries in the attack, including Prime Minister Ali Mujawar, deputy Prime Minister Rashid al-Alami and Parliament Speaker Yahya al-Raiee.

Saleh has transferred presidential responsibilities to his deputy Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi before leaving for Saudi Arabia.

Source: Xinhua

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