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Yemeni opposition calls for public uprising against poll

Opposition leaders have said that by approving an amendment to the electoral law on December 11, the ruling party violated the 2009 accord on political reforms.

SANA'A // Opposition leaders called yesterday for Yemeni citizens to take to the streets in protest against the holding of parliamentary elections, which the ruling party has scheduled for April, despite the interior ministry's vow last week to clamp down on any protests and prosecute organisers.

Mohammed Salem Basoundowah, the head of the National Dialogue Preparatory Committee, which is composed of opposition figures, including politicians, civil-society activists, clerics, tribal chiefs, businessmen and academics, said during a press conference yesterday: "The people are ready to take to the streets and we want to prepare well for this public rising to be able to thwart the election. This public uprising will be peaceful even if the authorities resort to violence."

Opposition leaders have said that by approving an amendment to the electoral law on December 11, the ruling party violated the 2009 accord on political reforms under which they agreed to postpone the parliamentary election for two years while political and electoral reforms were implemented.

The National Dialogue Preparatory Committee also denounced in a statement yesterday the constitutional amendments the ruling General People's Congress in parliament approved this month that could allow President Ali Abdullah Saleh to serve an unlimited number of terms.

The committee warned the government against "practices that are meant to ban the citizens from exercising their constitutional rights and in rejecting and resisting its policies".

Elsewhere in Yemen yesterday, armed separatist militants killed at least two soldiers in an attack on a checkpoint in the southern province of Lahj.

malqadhi@thenational.ae

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