Yemen's Saleh wants early elections

July 1, 2011 at 9:49 AM
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SANAA, Yemen, July 1 (UPI) -- Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is ready to hold early elections in an effort to return stability to the country, the vice president said.

Saleh is recovering in a hospital in Saudi Arabia from wounds suffered during a June 3 attack on his presidential compound. Saleh has endured months of growing pressure to step down, and Washington is encouraging the leader to sign a transition deal brokered by the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council.

Yemeni Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi called on the United Nations to come up with a proposal for a national dialogue in the country. Saleh, he added, wouldn't step down until the country has a new president.

"Saleh still has three million supporters in Yemen and that is why he remains Yemen's president," the vice president was quoted in the Yemen Post as saying. "Saleh is ready to conduct early elections to rid the country from more crises."

Members of the opposition Joint Meeting Parties in June said they wouldn't begin to consider any political moves until Saleh hands power over to his vice president.

There was no official word on when Saleh is expected to return from Saudi Arabia. His current term expires in 2013.

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