As they have almost every day since late January, tens of thousands of Yemeni protesters took to the streets of the capital city of Sanaa and other major cities, demanding the ouster of long-standing ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh and free elections.
The ongoing calls for reform took another turn today, when Saleh announced to his ever-dwinding crowds of supporters that he is calling for early elections. He made no mention of the GCC negotiations for his ouster, nor did he provide any details about the putative election, which he said were vital to “protect our family dignity.”
Which has convinced many opposition figures, as well as a number of analysts, that the call is simply the latest in a long line of empty promises designed to get the demonstrators off the streets.
The biggest question however is if Saleh intends to run in the “early elections” if indeed they take place. He had previously ruled out running for an additional term in office, but the president, who has served most of his time in office without the pretense of an election, has never been above changing his mind about public positions, as seen by his repeated refusals to sign the GCC transition deal he initially endorsed.