Algeria’s Bouteflika drops bid for fifth term

Algerian youths hold up a national flag during a demonstration in the capital Algiers

Algerian youths hold up a national flag during a demonstration in the capital Algiers

For a country that has long banked on stability, Algeria is now buffeted by serious winds of change, with massive protests morphing into the biggest challenge facing its aging government in almost three decades.

The ailing 82 years old wheelchair-bound President Abdulaziz Bouteflika, who has ruled Algeria for four terms (20 years), declared his intention to run for the fifth term in office in April. "They will use this conference as an opportunity to find a way to remain in power". Will the North African country's majority-young population realize hopes for a political sea change?

"For us, this news is essentially an extension of the mandate of the current president, [but] it has no constitutional basis", he said.

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 almost 18 years. A "letter to the Algerian people" in Mr Bouteflika's name said that he was...

The protests trickled down to middle-schoolers and high-schoolers, with several hundred marching in the center of Algiers, also calling for Bouteflika to withdraw his candidacy.

A group of Algerians celebrated the development at Maurice Audin Square in the capital city of Algiers.

Calls were also put out for demonstrations to be held nationwide on Friday. This was described as "the last ruse of Bouteflika" by the influential daily newspaper El Watan.

Australia's Cardinal Pell Faces Sentencing for Abusing Two Choir Boys
Speaking to A Current Affair , she said she spoke to Pell in 1992 and told him about what had happened to her and her sister. The judge also warned other victims that "this sentence can not be vindication of wrongdoings against you [other victims]".

Without a partisan label, and spared by a press that respects him as a minister who communicates a lot (he is one of the few ministers to have active accounts on social media), Bedoui is said to be close to Nacer, another brother of the president. "I'm both happy and confused because there's still so much more that needs to happen", said Nourhane Atmani, a student who took part in the protests.

Former colonial power France welcomed the decision.

The global reaction was comparably upbeat, as French President Emmanuel Macron proclaimed the beginning of a new chapter in Algerian history, provided the transition period has a "reasonable duration".

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika seen voting at a polling station in the capital Algiers during polls for local elections in 2017.

A wily political survivor, Bouteflika fought in Algeria's independence war from France and is still appreciated for reconciling his deeply damaged nation after the bloodshed of the 1990s during a decade-long Islamic insurgency. He controversially offered amnesty to Islamist fighters not involved in major atrocities in the 1990s conflict.

Whole sections of Bouteflika's life have been kept secret, including his marital status - or how he was allowed to assume the presidency when the constitution demands that any head of state be wedded to an Algerian.

Protesters have said they will not leave the streets until the government, and all those in the tiny elite of military officers, veterans and big businessmen dubbed "Le Pouvoir", have handed over power.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.