Observed by: Mr. Alaa Isam
Eyeing protests that brought down Tunisia's leader and threaten to topple Egypt's president, Saleh also says he won't pass on the reins of government to his son.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Wednesday he would not seek to extend his presidency in a move that would bring an end to a three-decade rule when his current term expires in 2013.
Eyeing protests that brought down Tunisia's leader and threaten to topple Egypt's president, Saleh also vowed not to pass on the reins of government to his son.
"No extension, no inheritance, no resetting the clock," Saleh said, speaking ahead of a planned large rally due on Thursday in Sanaa that has been dubbed a "Day of rage".
Inspired by the unrest in Tunisia and Egypt, thousands of Yemeni demonstrators took to the streets of Sanaa, Yemen last Thursday to demand a change of their own government, in the largest wave of anti-government protests Yemen has witnessed yet.
Protesters said they were demanding improvements in living conditions as well as political change. One banner read: "Enough playing around, enough corruption, look at the gap between poverty and wealth."
A competing pro-government protest organized by Yemen's ruling party in another district of Sanaa gathered a few hundred demonstrators.
Yemen, in the shadow of the world's top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, is struggling with soaring unemployment and dwindling oil and water reserves. Almost half its 23 million people live on $2 a day or less and a third suffer from chronic hunger.
Saleh has tried to calm discontent, last week proposing constitutional amendments including presidential term limits with two terms of five or seven years. Last week he also promised to raise the salary of all civil servants and military personal by at least 47 dollars a month.