Sana'a: A minister in Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government has publicly urged him to hold presidential elections in the country this year to avoid the fate of the Tunisian and Egyptian leaders.
In an open letter to Saleh, published in the state-run daily Al Syasyah, the Yemeni Minster of Tourism, Nabil Al Faki, said early presidential elections should take place in the country to coincide with the parliamentary elections that are scheduled for later this year.
President Saleh has said repeatedly this week he will not run for office when his current term ends in 2013 and his son Ahmed will not succeed him.
Al Faki's letter also advised Saleh to carry out many other political and electoral reforms and guarantee the rule of law. Great efforts are now being made by internal and external players, especially American and European, to help the beleaguered Yemeni president find an acceptable solution without necessarily having to step down immediately.
Unlike the ongoing and increasing demonstrations by Yemeni youth, who are demanding Saleh's ouster, the opposition coalition, which includes the Islamists, Socialists, and Nasserites, wants only guarantees that he will leave power at the end of his term and will not interfere in a would-be unity government that will prepare for and monitor the early elections.
After a meeting with the chairman of the American democratic institute Les Campbell in Sana'a on Wednesday, President Saleh called for forming the national unity government to monitor the elections. He also called for stopping demonstrations to pave the way for talks.
President Saleh also instructed the security forces to protect both the anti- and pro-government demonstrators on the streets. Earlier on Tuesday, one demonstrator was killed and more than 10 injured when armed tribesmen of two rival demonstrating groups clashed with each other near Sana'a University.
The numbers of anti-regime demonstrators have increased to the thousands from mere hundreds after Tuesday's clashes.