Yemen President promises elections this year

The plan is for parliament be elected first and then form a government.

Sana`a: Yemen`s President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed Wednesday to hold presidential and parliamentary elections by the end of the year, the state-run news agency reported.

The plan is for parliament be elected first and then form a government which would organize the presidential vote, the official news agency SABA said.

It is not clear whether the move would appease protesters who have taken to the streets for more than one month to demand an immediate end to Saleh`s 32-year rule.

Earlier Wednesday, parliament backed Saleh`s request to impose a 30-day state of emergency that suspends the constitution, bans protests, and allows for arbitrary arrests and censorship.

The move came a day after the opposition rejected Saleh`s offer to step down by January 2012.

A number of army generals have defected and pledged their support to the protesters.

Violent crackdowns by security forces have left dozens of protesters killed. Journalists and activists have also been harassed and arrested by authorities in the country.

The absence of half of the Yemeni parliament - including the opposition - eased the way for the ruling party to push through the state of emergency.

The 163 members of the 301-member chamber who were in attendance all belong to Saleh`s party. Only two legislators voted against the law.

Opposition and independent members walked out of the parliament before the vote.