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Yemen's president says he'll leave office before 2013 elections

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh vowed Wednesday to step down from office before 2013 elections and to remove his son as his likely successor.

Saleh said he would "freeze" proposed constitutional amendments that would make him Yemen's president for life and postpone April parliamentary elections widely dismissed as rigged in the government's favor.

Analysts said the concessions would fail to sate an opposition movement inspired by antigovernment uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Critics note Saleh vowed in 2006 not to run for re-election, only to go back on his word after supporters staged rallies urging him to run again.

Saleh, 64, has served as president of the Arab world's poorest nation since 1978. His rule has been characterized by allegations of corruption, incompetence and nepotism. A secessionist movement grips Yemen's south, an insurgency rages in the north, and al-Qaida militants are active in the countryside.

Yemenis also complain of stagnant wages and high food prices. Opposition groups that include Islamists, trade unions and leftists have called for a "day of rage" today against Saleh.

Yemen's president says he'll leave office before 2013 elections 02/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 10:25pm]

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