In a dramatic reversal, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has announced that he will agree to leave his post, handing over power to a deputy, in exchange for immunity from prosecution for him and his family.
The agreement, brokered by mediators from other countries, would take effect 30 days after formal documents are signed. Initial comment from the leaders of the opposition that has called for governmental reforms for a couple months was that the proposal didn't address major demands such as a power-sharing agreement.
Protesters have taken to the streets of the Yemen capital, for several weeks, demanding an end to the 32-year rule of Saleh, who has been a key Western ally in the region. In some cities, production has ground to a halt. In response, Saleh has ordered a violent crackdown that resulted in nearly 100 deaths. A few key military commanders have resigned their posts, as have several members of parliament.
The political proposal comes a few weeks after Saleh's initial offer of refusing to run for re-election in 2013 was flatly rejected by opposition leaders. The continuing protests and Saleh's violent means of dealing with them have cost him the support of Saudia Arabia, the United States, and several other neighboring countries.