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Yemen's Saleh agrees not to run again. Is that good enough for protesters?

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh declared Wednesday that he would not seek reelection in 2013, but protesters plan to keep on demonstrating.

By Laura KasinofCorrespondent / February 2, 2011

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, center, looks at Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, left, while heading a meeting with members of Yemen's parliament in Sanaa, Yemen, Wednesday, Feb. 2. The Yemeni president told parliament on Wednesday that he will not seek another term in office or hand power to his son in an apparent reaction to protests in this impoverished nation that have been inspired by Tunisia's revolt and the turmoil in Egypt.

Hani Mohammed/AP

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Sanaa, Yemen

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced today in an emergency parliamentary meeting that he would not run again in Yemen’s upcoming presidential election in 2013. The move is being seen as a major concession to Yemen’s political opposition after Tunisia-inspired protests have broken out across the country over the past two weeks.

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“President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced that he would freeze the draft constitutional amendments that are before Parliament denying allegations that there is an intention for hereditary rule in Yemen,” reads a statement from the official Saba news agency in reference to proposed legislation that would abolish presidential term limits and speculation that the Mr. Saleh is going to hand the presidency over to his son Ahmed Saleh.

He added that he will not seek another presidential term in 2013.

Saleh's announcement comes one day before the largest day of demonstrations calling for an end to the corruption of his regime are planned to take place in Yemen’s capital, Sana. The constitutional amendments that Saleh referred to in his speech are part of key contention points between the opposition and the ruling party.

Indeed, the mood remains tense on Sanaa’s streets, crawling with soldiers this morning as the city waits to see what will happen on Thursday in what has been dubbed Yemen’s "day of wrath," using the name Egyptian protesters gave to one of their demonstrations last week.

“[Saleh’s concession] is a reaction to the internal developments in Yemen nationwide, and the developments in the entire region, after what happened in Tunisia and what we are seeing happen in Egypt,” says Hafez Albukari, president of a local, independent nongovernmental organization called the Yemen Polling Center. “He wants to send a clear message to the Yemeni people that he will do some reforms and he will not run again, but I think we should wait for actual implementation of these promises.”

Too little, too late?

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