Yemen leader proposes drawing up new constitution

2011-03-10 10:54

Sanaa, Yemen – Yemen’s embattled president proposed today that the government draw up a new constitution guaranteeing the independence of the parliament and judiciary, but thousands of unsatisfied protesters poured into the streets after his speech to demand his ouster.

The demonstrators have set up protest camps in the capital and the cities of Aden and Taiz, saying they won’t leave until US-backed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh does.

Saleh, an ally in the Obama administration’s fight against al-Qaeda, has been making a series of concessions to head off a movement seen as one of the most serious threats to an Arab government inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Saleh told thousands of supporters gathered at a stadium in Sanaa that a new constitution would be drafted by the end of year establishing the separation of legislative and executive powers. The president currently controls all other branches of government.

He said he ordered the government to “fulfil the demands of the youth camping in Sanaa, Aden and Taiz and in other cities but without sit-ins or chaos”.

Shortly after Saleh finished his speech, some 4 000 people, mostly students, took to the streets and headed toward the main square in the Sanaa calling for his downfall.

Opposition leader Yassin Said Numan said Saleh’s initiative came too late, although opposition parties would study it.

“The president’s initiative has been overtaken by events and facts on the ground today, but if it came six months ago, the matter would be totally different,” he said.

Saleh told the gathering that he was aware that the opposition will reject his offer but he had to let the people know about it.

Saleh said the country would hold elections and form a government by early next year.

The government and the opposition agreed in 2008 to extend the authority of the current parliament until elections next month, but the sides are at loggerheads over the law that would govern that election. 

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.