Thu, November 24, 2011
World > Yemen president of 33 years quits amid uprising

Backgrounder: Key events of Yemeni unrest

2011-11-23 22:24:25 GMT2011-11-24 06:24:25(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

SANAA, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed the Gulf-brokered power transfer deal in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh on Wednesday evening.

As Yemen has been rattled by massive protests since the beginning of this year, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council ( GCC) proposed the deal in April to solve the Yemeni crisis.

Here are some key events of the development of Yemeni unrest:

In January this year, anti-government protests erupted in Yemen, at first calling for reforms and later demanding the ouster of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

On Feb. 2, Saleh announced he would neither run for president in 2013 nor bring his son to power after him, pledging to carry out reforms and urging the opposition to call off protests and come back to dialogue.

On the same day, he ordered to create a fund to employ university graduates, extend social insurance coverage, increase wages and reduce income taxes. He also offered to resume political dialogue with the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) and delayed the parliamentary elections in April.

On March 10, Saleh announced a new initiative to solve the crisis, including forming a committee from parliament and Shura Councils, social figures and youths to prepare a new constitution. The initiative also called for transferring power to an elected parliamentary system by the end of this year, establishing full- power local governance, and preparing a new election law in addition to forming a new government of national unity.

On March 18, Saleh declared a state of emergency as a series of Yemeni military commanders and ambassadors declared to resign and joint the protest.

On March 20, the president sacked the government and ordered the prime minister and ministers to stay in a caretaker government.

While the protests started to escalate in April, the GCC proposed a deal to solve the Yemeni crisis. Under the West-backed GCC deal, Saleh should resign and transfer power to his deputy Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi in 30 days after the deal was signed, in return for immunity from prosecution.

The deal also called for forming a national unity government led by the opposition, and starting preparations for presidential elections in 60 days since a new government is formed.

On April 23 and May 18, Saleh orally agreed to sign the GCC deal, but backed out at the last minute.

On May 22, after Saleh backed out of signing the GCC plan for the third time, the armed tribesmen loyal to opposition tribal leader Sadiq al-Ahmar launched heavy attacks on the government buildings in central Sanaa, leaving hundreds of people killed and more than one thousand people injured.

On June 3, Saleh was injured in a bomb attack on his presidential palace, which killed at least 14 bodyguards and government officials. Saleh transferred power to Hadi and left to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment the day after along with other 87 senior officials.

Heavy clashes between the Yemeni government forces and the defected army along with the oppostion-led armed tribesmen rattled Sanaa since mid September, leaving at least 1,480 people killed and thousands of others injured.

On Sept. 23, Saleh returned to Sanaa, vowing to launch national reconciliation dialogue with the opposition to end the political crisis.

In October, the UN Security Council issued a resolution, urging Saleh to sign the GCC-brokered deal and start to peacefully transfer power as soon as possible.

On Nov. 2, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qerbi said that a political solution of power transfer would be reached soon between the government and the opposition.

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