International

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika Pulls Out Amid Protests

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika Pulls Out Amid Protests

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced that he would pull out from the 18 April presidential elections and that he will not seek a fifth term in office.

After taking office in 1999, he has led Algeria for 20 years but since then was rarely seen in public after he suffered a stroke in 2013.

In a statement, the president stated that he would postpone the date of the presidential elections and allow the formation of a transitional government, which should be given the authority to organize the next elections.

The announcement came a day after Bouteflika returned home after his two-week stay in a Swiss hospital.

On 10 February 2019, a press release signed by Bouteflika announcing he would seek a fifth consecutive term provoked widespread discontent and the largest street protests in nearly 18 years.

Algerians took to the streets of Algeria, chanting “this is a republic, not a kingdom” and “20 years is more than enough”.

The protests mobilised a wide range of people, from students, journalists, lawyers, unions and the influential association of veterans of the war of independence against the French between 1954 and 1962.

After a brutal civil war in the 1990s against the Islamists, Bouteflika remained popular for ending the bloodshed, and many were reluctant to risk political upheaval.

However, more than two-thirds of Algerians are now under 30, and are seeking a more “democratic Algeria” as they chanted in the protests.

 

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