Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has recently announced that he will no longer be running for a fifth term in office and that the April 18 elections are postponed, after weeks of protests surrounding his candidacy.
In the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of pressure mounted on Mr. Bouteflika to withdraw when more than 1,000 judges said on Monday they would refuse to oversee the planned general election if he contested. Then the military’s chief of staff, Lt Gen Gaed Salah, said the military and the people had a united vision of the future – the strongest indication so far that the armed forces were sympathetic to the protests.
The ailing 82-year-old, who has ruled the country for two decades, sparked mass protests after he announced his candidacy for the upcoming elections. He has rarely been seen in public in recent years after suffering a stroke in 2013, CNN reports.
There is no place for a fifth term. My health and my age only permit me to fulfill my last duty towards the Algerian people — (that)
isto work on laying the foundations of a new republic. This is a response to the urgent demand that you have made of me. I promise to keep the succession between generations inevitable, Bouteflika said in a statement, according to the official Algeria Press Service (APS).
The announcement came a day after he returned home after a two-week stay in a Swiss hospital, where he has been for treatment since suffering a stroke in 2013.
Algerians have shown they are no longer willing to accept the status quo, and that will undoubtedly extend to close scrutiny of how the next election plays out.