Despite repeatedly claiming to be open to leaving office early and even agreeing to a deal that was supposed to see him leave office at the end of this year, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh insisted on Thursday that he will not leave office under any circumstances.
“Those who want to reach power shall go for elections,” Saleh insisted, adding that he will not leave until the end of his current term in office, which isn’t up until 2013. Saleh has recently indicated that he will not run for additional terms, although constitutional amendments were in discussion which would allow him to remain in power for life.
So far Saleh has declined calls to enact the reforms that would give the elections any sort of credibility. Previous votes, when Saleh has been elected at all, saw him winning with massive majorities.
Though the international community is in talks trying to convince Saleh to hand over power to a general, his office is far less powerful than it once was. Protest movements have grown nationwide, and a number of provinces are now operating more or less completely independently. Whether Saleh stays or hands over the office to a crony, it seems Yemen has been changed irrevocably, and nothing short of massive reforms is going to end the protests.