The opposition in Yemen has been quick to reject the president’s latest offers of reform, calling for pro-democracy demonstrations to continue.
It is President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s latest attempt to defuse increasingly violent protests against him.
Speaking to thousands of supporters in a football stadium, he promised a new constitution to create a parliamentary system of government. Yemenis, he said, would vote on that in a referendum before the end of the year. He added that he hoped the opposition would join a unity administration to help introduce the new political system.
The opposition wasted no time in saying Saleh’s proposals were too little too late.
He has made several concessions as the protests gathered momentum over the past weeks.
But a pro-democracy spokesman said the demands from the street ‘go beyond and are bigger than’ what the president has offered.
He has refused to cede to their central call – that he leaves office now after more than three decades in power.
The demonstrators have already paid dearly. Nearly 30 have died in their campaign so far.