Algeria's President Bouteflika pulls out of elections after protests

Algeria's President Bouteflika pulls out of elections after mass protests

2 min read
11 March, 2019
Algeria's 82-year-old president has announced after 20 years in power that he will not run for a fifth term in office after weeks of protests against his bid.

Algeria's 82-year-old president has announced he will not run for a fifth term in office after weeks of protests against his latest bid.

Abdelaziz Bouteflika made the announcement on Monday.

"There is no place of a fifth term… my health and age will not allow me to perform my last duty for the Algerian people," Bouteflika said.

The ailing leader added that there would be no elections on April 18 and the poll would only take place after an "inclusive and independent national conference".

He also promised an "interim leadership structure" to plan the new elections. There is as yet no detail on what form this may take, though it is likely to be formed from Bouteflika's inner circle and those key to his 20-year rule. 

"Here in Algiers, people have been slow to react as the news has emerged in the past few minutes," said journalist Massinissa Benlakehal in the Algerian capital.

"But people have already started gathering in the main avenues including La Grande Poste, and drivers have started sounding their car horns in celebration in impromptu parades on the streets.

"We're expecting to see [celebrations] become more significant in the next few hours, while calls have already been made on social networks for people to remain peaceful and 'avoid uncivilised behaviour'."

Bouteflika has barely been seen in public since a 2013 stroke.

He has faced unprecedented protests in recent weeks demanding that he abandon plans to seek another term.