Home / Africa / Abdelaziz Bouteflika: Algeria’s president resigns amid mass protests

Abdelaziz Bouteflika: Algeria’s president resigns amid mass protests

BBC | Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is resigning after weeks of mass protests, state media report.

Mr Bouteflika, who has been in power for 20 years, had already dropped plans to seek a fifth term as opposition to his rule grew.

The powerful Algerian army had called for the 82-year-old to be declared incapable of carrying out his duties.

The ailing leader suffered a stroke six years ago and has rarely appeared in public since.

Car horns could be heard in the streets of the capital, Algiers, as hundreds celebrated the announcement.

People waved Algeria’s national flags and sang.

One man, Selmaoui Seddik, told Reuters: “God willing, we will have a 100% democratic transition, this is very important. We need to remove the whole previous regime and that is the hardest thing.”

One protest leader, Mustapha Bouchachi, said before the announcement that any decision by Mr Bouteflika to quit would still change nothing and that the protests would continue.

News of the resignation came in a statement carried on state news agency APS.

Abdelaziz Bouteflika

“The president of the republic, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has officially notified the president of the constitutional council of his decision to end his mandate as president of the republic,” it said.

According to the constitution, the Senate speaker should take over as interim head of state until fresh elections are held.

How did it come about?

Pressure had been building since February, when the first demonstrations were sparked by Mr Bouteflika’s announcement that he would be standing for a fifth term.

Tens of thousands protested across the country on 1 March. Mr Bouteflika’s promise not to serve out a fifth term if re-elected, along with a change of prime minister, failed to quell the discontent.

Leaders of the protests also rejected Mr Bouteflika’s offer this week that he would go by the end of his current term – 28 April – as not quick enough.

It seems the powerful military agreed. Its chief, Lt Gen Ahmed Gaed Salah, said earlier on Tuesday: “There is no more room to waste time.”

What next?

The demonstrations have also called for the whole political system, in which the military plays a significant role, to be overhauled.

Many of the protesters are young and say they want a new system of government.

There were accusations that Mr Bouteflika was being used as a front by “le pouvoir” – a group of businessmen, politicians and military officials – to retain their power.

Elections originally scheduled for 18 April were postponed and the governing National Liberation Front (FLN) vowed to organise a national conference on reforms.

The FLN has ruled Algeria since the country won independence from France in 1962 after seven years of conflict.

Mr Bouteflika, who came to power in 1999, strengthened his grip after a bloody civil war against Islamist insurgents which left 150,000 dead.

The chairman of the upper house of parliament, Abdelkader Bensalah, is expected to become caretaker president for three months until elections.

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5 comments

  1. That is one of the solutions for our Cameroon.
    But can Cameroonians unite?
    I don’t think so…

  2. BIKUTSI,,,,it seems many of you have not taken time to understand the system in which we live.the reality is that whoever is president has no connection to the economic prosperity of a people.what dictates the political orientation of all countries without exception is the economic aspect.those who hold and control the economy decide who will be president,who his or her ministers will be,what language the country will speak,its spiritual and education system.to put it simple,you start by winning economic power which then gives you the instruments necessary to take control of the administrative system.not the opposite through fictive periodic elections.what the people of algeria do not know is that they need to work 18 hours 8 days a week to take control of thier future.

    • young man- look at the reality in this failed state cameroon before talking..
      Economics is the study of economic transactions between people and groups and politics is the practice of governing. … Likewise, when one makes economic decisions, the underlying premise is that he is politically free to do so. The ability to make economic decisions is the ability to make political ones..
      Now take a small break and look at cameroon…
      Be honest to yourself, then you will understand why many things cannot work in cameroon..
      Its a place where nothing works…
      Its a place where Gangsters come out and feel like KING-KONG…
      A tribe comes out and feel like they are above the law, make their own laws, have no ideas in Economis, have no ideas in politics.

    • Cameroon today is just a shame and disgrace.
      You cant compare it to any normal system in the world…
      A dog, Gorilla, Money or pig will bring equal rights and justice including peace in that country…
      The place is a mess..

  3. Cameroon is a structure full of fools eg penguiss, Bamendayboy etc. How then, can
    any change be possible? How foolish that they figure out issues, is how the majority,
    see it. The result, being no clean water for the masses to drink, poor school structures
    etc etc and they are satisfied with it. And they like it, when they see others far away,
    enjoying good roads, clean streets etc etc.

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