SANAA, Yemen, March 10 (UPI) -- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh says he is drafting a new constitution to change the way the country on the Arabian peninsula is governed.
Faced with increased protests calling for him to step down, Saleh said Thursday the new constitution would transfer power from the president to a parliamentary system and it would be put to a vote by the end of the year, the New York Times reported.
Saleh said he didn't expect the proposal to be accepted by those calling for him to step down.
"I am sure in advance that this will be added to the previous initiatives and will not meet the approval of the opposition parties," he told thousands of supporters in a soccer stadium in Sanaa, Yemen's capital.
An opposition leader agreed with Saleh on that point.
"The people will not accept this initiative," opposition leader Mohammed al-Sabri said. He said the proposal is "too late."
The opposition also wants Saleh to remove his sons from positions of power so they won't take over the presidency when he leaves. Saleh has refused to step down, but said he won't seek another term in office.
Yemeni soldiers fired on demonstrators in Sanaa Tuesday night, killing one person. About 30 protesters have been killed since anti-government demonstrations began last month.