Algeria’s Bouteflika will not run for a fifth term
11 Mar 2019
Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. File photo
ALGIERS: Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will not run for a fifth term, the presidency said on Monday after weeks of protests calling for the ailing leader to step down.
The presidency also announced the postponement of a presidential election which had been planned for April.
A government reshuffle would take place soon, the presidency said in a statement.
Tens of thousands of people from all social classes have been demonstrating almost daily against Bouteflika's decision to stand in the election, rejecting a stale political system dominated by veterans of an independence war against France that ended in 1962. Bouteflika has ruled for 20 years.
Earlier, more than 1,000 judges said they would refuse to oversee Algeria's election if President Abdelaziz Bouteflika contests it, and clerics defied any state role in their work, in a double rebuff to an ailing leader fighting for his political survival.
Bouteflika, who returned to Algeria on Sunday after medical treatment in Switzerland, has watched one long-time ally after another join mass demonstrations calling on him to step down.
Now in their third week, the protests have seen Algerians desperate for jobs and angry about unemployment and corruption demonstrate in towns across the vast North African country against Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term in office.
The marches have shattered years of political inertia and unsettled Algeria's opaque but powerful security establishment.