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Definition: Saleh from The Macquarie Dictionary

Ali Abdullah /a.li ab'dʊlə/ /ah.lee ahb'dooluh/

Also, Salih

Yemeni politician; president of North Yemen 1978—90; became president of unified Yemen in 1990.


Summary Article: Saleh, Ali Abdullah from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Yemeni politician and soldier, president 1990–2012. He became president of North Yemen on the assassination of President Ahmad Al Ghashmi in 1978, allegedly by South Yemen extremists. He was re-elected in 1983 and 1988, and in 1990 he was elected president of a reunified Yemen. But within three years, differences between north and south had resurfaced and civil war broke out again in 1994. Saleh's army inflicted a crushing defeat on the southern forces of vice-president al-Baidh, who fled into exile, and a new ruling coalition was formed. He was re-elected in 1999 and in 2006 by large majorities. From February 2011, he faced mounting protests calling on his resignation. On 18 March 2011, violent clashes with police claimed 45 lives and in June 2011 he was seriously injured in an assassination attempt and had to go to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. In November 2011 he agreed to a Saudi-brokered deal to transfer his powers to his vice-president ahead of a presidential election in February 2012 which he did not contest.

Born in Bait el-Ahmar, southeast of Sana'a, into a Zaydi Shia Muslim family, he joined the North Yemeni armed forces in 1958 and was a second lieutenant by 1963. North Yemen's president Al Ghashmi appointed him military governor of Ta'izz in 1977. During the Arab Spring of 2011, his regime faced fierce opposition in a national uprising. There were mass protests and defections from the army, which left much of the country outside Saleh's control. In an attempt to defuse the protests, Saleh announced he would not seek re-election in 2013 and promised a referendum on a new constitution which would separate executive and legislative powers. However, the protests continued.

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