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Under-pressure Yemeni president offers 2011 poll

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Under-pressure Yemeni president offers 2011 poll


Yemen’s increasingly embattled leader Ali Abdullah Saleh has offered to step down by the end of the year, proposing constitutional change and elections.

But opposition groups show no signs of easing up their efforts to secure his departure now.

A pro-democracy movement is escalating. Thousands of protesters have been camped in the streets near the university in the capital, Sanaa, since early February.

One of the latest members of Saleh’s regime to switch sides, dissident security forces officer Ahmed Mohamad Hussein Ahmed urged the president to “see sense and leave this country” and let Yemen’s people choose their leader.

Defections have multiplied since Friday when anti-government protests ended in bloodshed and dozens of deaths. A state of emergency has been rubber-stamped by parliament.

Former Yemeni state TV employee Samir Abdelwali said one tent in the protest camp represents the “free” journalists who have left the channel, which he accused of telling lies and misleading the public.

The opposition is said to be studying President Saleh’s proposals. It had earlier called for massive rallies in Sanaa on Friday to force him from power.

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