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Yemen: Saleh Stepping Down? Unlikely!

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Yemen, Governance, Politics, War & Conflict

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011 [1].

After months of protests against his 33-year rule, Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh said in a speech on Saturday, October 8, in front of the House of Representatives and Shura (consultative) Council aired on state television, that he will step down in the next few days. He said “I reject power and I will continue to reject it, and I will be leaving power in the coming days.”

Many however, saw it a as new maneuvering, a step anticipating the report of United Nations’ envoy to Yemen, Mr Jamal Ben Omar, who will hand it to the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

A Carlos Lattuf cartoon

A Carlos Lattuf cartoon

Saleh has said he will step down and sign the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative more than once, the latter of which as a matter of fact many Yemeni reject. He has lost credibility, and not just among Yemenis.

A very popular video conveying what many Yemeni think of Saleh, was posted back in May, tweeted after his speech by a freelance journalist based in Sanaa @adammbaron [2]:

in light of recent speeches, its probably worth resurrecting this gem… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klxvHEKzqQM #katyperry #saleh #yemen

Here are more reactions from Twitter.

@samwaddah [3]: In his speech, #Saleh sounded stupid, liar, hypocrite, ignorant & deceptive. In other words, he was just being himself! #Yemen #SalehBlaBla

@Yemen4Change [4]: I honestly don't even know what the “next coming days” means anymore! #Saleh #Yemen

@KhaledHammadi [5], a Yemeni journalist, tweeted about the speech:

#Yemen protesters never pay attention to pres #Saleh speech, who pledge to leave power within days, cz they believe it is just new maneuver

And @SummerNasser [6] said:

FYI: #Saleh promised he would “step down” three times before yesterdays speech. Once a liar always a liar. #Yemen #Supportyemen

Egyptian journalist @RawyaRageh [7] added:

It's surreal how many times Ali Abdullah #Saleh has promised to step down. Seriously. #Yemen

Many netizens said that Saleh's speech and the specific choice of words saying that he “will be leaving power in the coming days” was a pathetic attempt to steal the limelight and media coverage that Yemen's Noble Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkol Karman [8]was rightfully enjoying.

@Dima_Khatib [9] a well known journalist and big supporter of the Arab Spring and Yemen tweeted:

When a dictator gets jealous from a 32-year-old courageous honourable mother-of-3 revolutionary… Expect anything ! #YallaSaleh #YEMEN

@tota770 [10] tweeted:

I don't believe #Saleh, he is a liar, he just want to get attention because he felt jealous yesterday from #Tawakul who won #Nobel price :P

Ms Karman's reaction to his speech which reflected what protesters felt was tweeted by @NasserMaweri [11]:

#TawakulKarman : I want to tell #Saleh, this revolution is winning and will win, Yemen will always be free like it always have. #Yemen

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011 [1].