Sanaa: More than 100 influential religious
clerics and tribal leaders called for the Yemeni president`s
ouster and elections to choose a new leader, adding their
weight to the opposition movement seeking to end nearly 33
years of autocratic rule by Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The president, who has clung to power despite four months
of protests, is undergoing treatment in neighboring Saudi
Arabia for serious burns and other injuries from a June 3
attack on his palace in the capital, Sanaa. His allies insist
he will return to the country within days and resume his
The clerics` petition obtained yesterday, demands
elections within 60 days and says Saleh is unfit to return to
"President Saleh is unable to carry out his
responsibilities. He must step down," the statement said.
Among the petitioners is Sheik Abdul-Majid al-Zindani, the
spiritual leader of the country`s fundamentalist Islamic
opposition party, Islah, and Yemen`s most influential cleric.
He has backed the anti-Saleh protesters since early on in the
Others who have abandoned the Yemeni leader include top
military commanders, powerful tribal chiefs and members of
Saleh`s ruling party. Many defected to the opposition in
outrage at the killing of protesters.