Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has announced the postponement of the country’s presidential elections next month amid ongoing protests against his reelection bid.
In a message carried by the official APS news agency on Monday, the 82-year-old also said he would not seek a fifth term.
The victim of a serious stroke in 2013, the ailing leader promised political and economic reforms and said a government reshuffle would take place soon.
According to APS, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia has also resigned.
The dramatic developments followed weeks of mass demonstrations against Bouteflika’s plan to extend his 20-year rule.
The president returned on Sunday (10th, March) where he had gone for “routine medical checks” , last month. His office had announced that he’ll run for president in the forthcoming election, a statement that immediately sparked protests in the country.
Since then pressure has mounted on him to resign with the latest ‘straw that broke the camel’s back being the decision by over 1000 judges refusal to take part in elections if Bouteflika is taking part in it.
“We announce our intention to abstain from … supervising the election process against the will of the people, which is the only source of power,” the statement read.
The elections are scheduled for April 18th, 2019.
Bouteflika is one of the presidents, apart from Sudan’s Al-Bashir, in North Africa who was spared in the pro-democracy uprisings of the Arab Spring that started in neighboring Tunisia in 2010.
Currently, Bashor is also facing a lot of pressure to resign and has made a lot of changes to the government. He will also not seek reelection.
He remains popular with many Algerians, because as president, he presided over the end of the bloody Algerian Civil War in 2002.
His party, FLN had already picked him as its official presidential candidate. Bouteflika was expected to win the vote as opposition remains weak and divided.
It remains to be seen how things will turn out in the North African Country.
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