Tag Archives: Algeria

Algerians enter post- Bouteflika era

Algeria‘s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (82) has resigned under pressure of a several weeks of massive streets protests,  stepping down after 20 years in power, at the moment he was seeking for the fifth term.

The Algerian army refused to support Mr. Bouteflika ambition, and had called him to be declared incapable of carrying out his duties. Mr.Bouteflika became increasingly frail, after suffering a stroke six years ago and has rarely appeared in public since.

He made a rare appearance on state TV to relinquish power hours after military chief Lt Gen Ahmed Gaed Salah had called on him to leave office without delay. A French parliamentary report (2017) said Lt Gen Gaid Salahsees himself as a likely successor”. However under in the dramatic context of massive protests with the demand of democratic change, his ascendance to presidency does not seem as an easy exercise.

Bouteflika resignation before the end of mandate opens floor to questions of succession, addressing the requested of people of Algeria for free and fair elections.

Abdelkader Bensalah (75)  appeared first in ranks in Algerian state since March 1 due to his position as President of the Council of the Nation (which corresponds to the Senate), and from now onward he is mandated by the Constitution to provide interim for a maximum period of 90 days during which a presidential election must be organized.

Bouteflika refuses to renounce 5th mandate

Despite Algerian demonstrations calling to renounce presidential ambitions, the incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (82) has registered on March 3 his candidacy. However, in case he is elected on April 18, he promised in written an early presidential election in less than a year. Many Algerians have déjà vu feeling, while hearing this promise to leave. In 2014 the leader announced: “‘I will amend the Constitution & hand over power to the youth”. Five years later he requests an additional year.

The fifth term and an early presidential election in less than a year, this is the imposed ‘proposal’ of Abdelaziz Bouteflika aimed at calming down the indignation of Algerians, who find themselves in a situation when their country is led from one of the Swiss clinics ward.

The package proposed by Abdelaziz Bouteflika is obviously designed to calm the revolt of Algerians who demand his definite departure.

On March 3, the last day of the registration for presidential candidates  the head of state has sent his new campaign director, Abdelghani Zaalane, to read a letter in which he says he is “determined” to re-election to “assume the historical responsibility for the realization of the basic requirement of the people, that is to say the change of the system“. In this letter, he also says he wants to organize “an early presidential election” in less than a year and agrees not to “be a candidate for this election that will ensure [his] succession”.

Nobody had doubts about Abdelaziz Bouteflika ambition to go for a fifth term, especially after his decision to sack his campaign director, Abdelmalek Sellal before the registration deadline.

Several hundred students chanting “Bouteflika get out!” or “No fifth term for Bouteflika!” have demonstrated in Oran, Constantine or Annaba, and in Algiers, where they marched to  President’s Palace el-Mouradia and to the Constitutional Council, the latter ruled that Bouteflika is not obliged to be physically present, while registering his candidacy. This opinion contradicted the electoral commission request to all candidates to submit the documents in person.

А call for a general strike has been launched for Monday, March 4. “A million and a half” invited to continue to demonstrate Friday, March 8 throughout the country.

 

Algerians protest against 5th Bouteflika mandate

Algerians went to streets calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to leave office in the country’s biggest anti-government demonstrations since the Arab Spring eight years ago.

The protests started as peaceful but degenerated to some clashes between police and demonstrates broke out in capital Algiers near the presidential palace.

Several protesters and policemen were wounded during clashes in Algiers, state television said. Local sources reported around 60 wounded, and 45 detained.

Bouteflika (82) has not directly addressed the protesters. Last week the officials said he would travel to Geneva for medical checks. Fading health of the President has been central to debate about his capabilities to function, as he has almost disappeared from public view since he suffered a stroke (2013). Citizens rarely had an opportunity to see the wheel-chair bound, and visibly frail President, however the the country’s powerful clans prefer him to stay on as a guarantor of their might.