Seven Yemen MPs quit ruling party over violence

Filed on February 23, 2011
Seven Yemen MPs quit ruling party over violence

Seven members of parliament have resigned from President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ruling party to protest against what they described as government violence against demonstrators.

The resignations, including some major allies of Saleh, are a political blow to a president facing popular opposition to end his 32-year rule, although he still retains the support of around 80 percent of parliament.

“The people must have the right to demonstrate peacefully,” Abdulaziz Jubari, a leading parliamentarian who has resigned, told Reuters.

Jubari said the parliamentarians had sent a 10-point letter to Saleh with demands for immediate reform, including restructuring the army to make it more representative of Yemen’s complex society and to aid a transition to democracy.

Among those who resigned is tribal leader Abdo Bisher from the Sanaa region and two figures from southern Yemen.

Saleh’s General Ruling Congress Party still has around 240 members out of the 301-strong parliament, which the opposition says was a result of unfair elections and the use of state machinery to elect Saleh’s allies.

Saleh said he will not succumb to what he described as opponents advocating anarchy. Fifteen people have died in the unrest since last week.

A Yemeni man around 20 years old died in hospital from gunshot wounds suffered in clashes on Friday between security forces and protesters in Aden’s Mansoura district, a medical source told Reuters on Wednesday.

His death brings to 14 the number of people reported killed in clashes around Aden since Thursday. One other man was killed in the city of Taiz last week.

Gunmen in the southern province of Lahej kidnapped three soldiers, one with the rank of captain, after storming a military base, a local source said. Three soldiers and two of the gunmen were wounded in the clash.

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