Yemeni President steps down from office
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a deal on Wednesday to resign from office after uprisings have recently begun to intensify.
Negotiations for an agreement took place for some time between him, a U.N. special envoy and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is composed of six member states. Previously, President Saleh had agreed to sign a deal, but backed out at the last minute for different reasons.
On Tuesday, U.N. special envoy to Yemen, Jamal bin Omal, announced an agreement had been reached and a possible signing would take place soon in an official ceremony. President Saleh had said he would like the presence of an unnamed minister from a Gulf country to attend the ceremony in addition to the GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani.
He was shown on national television on Wednesday morning with the presence of Saudi Arabian King Abdullah along with other Saudi officials signing the deal ending his nearly 30-year-old regime after about nine months of protests. Yemeni opposition officials also signed the deal after Saleh.
“The agreement is an important step for the people of Yemen to solve the political crisis in the country and move their country toward a better future” bin Omar said. He also praised the youth of the country for their efforts that “created the momentum” for change.
Protesters, however, are not so excited about Saleh’s exit. “They agreed. That’s their business. For us, the revolution continues in the square” one protest organizer said. He expressed concern for the corruption within the country and says he doesn’t believe that changing or removing corrupt officials would do anything if they were replaced with other corrupt officials. “If we see that the corrupt system is removed, we’ll welcome it,” he said.
The deal agreed upon peacefully transfers power from President Saleh to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi within 30 days and schedules early presidential elections within 90 days of signing the agreement. It also calls for a two-year transitional period for a unity government to amend the constitution and to work on restoring national security forces since they were destabilized with the uprisings. The agreement also calls for national dialogue about the country’s future and gives Saleh immunity from prosecution.