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Yemeni president says to leave power in coming days: TV


08:35, October 09, 2011

SANAA, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Saturday that he will leave power in the coming days, in a speech aired by the state television.

"I always reject power and I will continue to reject it, and I will leave power in the coming days," he told a gathering of high- ranking parliamentary members in the capital Sanaa.

"But there were patriotic men, whether civilians or military leaders, have the ability to take the power and safely rule Yemen, " Saleh added without elaborating further on this point.

In his speech, Saleh did not refer to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative for power transition, which was mediated in April and was signed by the opposition in May.

The GCC initiative, which Saleh has backed out of signing it three times in the last minute, stipulated him to step down in 30 days and hand over power to his deputy, who will then form an opposition-led national government and arrange presidential elections in 60 days.

Meanwhile, an official of the ruling party, who attended the meeting, told Xinhua that President Saleh will leave power only through elections.

"The president will leave power only if the opposition agrees on competing in early presidential elections with the ruling party, " the official said on condition of anonymity.

Opposition spokesman Mohamed Qahtan said earlier that the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) "will agree on competing in early presidential elections only if Saleh dismissed his family members from leading posts of the military and security institutions."

The 69-year-old president has confronted nine-month-long pro- democracy protest requiring an end to his 33-year rule.

Tension has escalated since the embattled president returned to Yemen last week after spending more than three months in Saudi Arabia for recovering from injuries he sustained in an attack on his Sanaa palace on June 3.


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