Yemen’s president Ali Abdullah Saleh has left the country for Riyadh, where he is expected to sign a deal under which he will step down, according to Yemen’s state-run TV.

Saleh will transfer power to the vice-president, Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi before an election is held, under the deal brokered by Yemen’s GCC neighbours, the London-based BBC reports.

Under the Gulf plan, Saleh would issue a decree handing over all power to Hadi, who would then sign the agreement and name an opposition leader to form a new national unity government. Then preparations would start for polls (MEED 11:11:11).

The president, who has been in power since 1978, has been facing increasing protests since the beginning of the year.

Saleh flew to Saudi Arabia in June after surviving an attack on his compound in Sanaa, which left him with multiple burns. He returned to Yemen in September.