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Celebrations as Algeria's president announces he won't run for 5th term

14 March, 2019, 07:16 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • People celebrate on the streets after Bouteflika announced he will not run for a fifth term. — Reuters

After criticizing Algeria's enemies both inside and outside the country, General Ahmed Gaid Salah, sent a letter, Monday, that highlighted the love between the army and the Algerian people.

In 20 years as president, however, age and illness took its toll on the once-charismatic figure.

In Tlemcen, Bouteflika's stronghold 540km west of Algiers, the president's decision was celebrated on Monday night as drivers beeped horns and people on the street cheered.

"It is great news!"

Others are looking to the past, and taking a more sanguine view. "The people need to unite to choose what's next".

Meanwhile, Lamamra was appointed deputy prime minister.

This is a breaking news story, more details to come.

Protests have been building across the North African country since February when Mr Bouteflika's office first announced his intention to seek a fifth term. "The battle is not won". "Bouteflika asked for another year and he got his way".

"I think Algeria has drawn lessons from what's happened elsewhere", she said, adding the population has no appetite for revisiting its bloody past.

- January 30, 2016: He tightens his grip on power by disbanding the DRS intelligence agency, considered by many a "state within a state".

Algerian president back home amid mass protests against him
Algerian president reportedly home amid mass protests

For a country that has long banked on stability, Algeria is now buffeted by serious winds of change, with massive protests morphing into the biggest challenge facing its aging government in almost three decades.

Bouteflika had previously warned protesters of the risk of infiltration by "misleading parties" leading to chaos not seen since the civil war. However, he still intends to hang on at least until a successor is chosen, in an election that so far has not been scheduled.

The Council has until Thursday to rule on candidates for Algeria's April 18 election.

"We support efforts in Algeria to chart a new path forward based on dialogue that reflects the will of all Algerians and their aspirations for a peaceful and prosperous future", State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told a briefing.

He says he plans to appoint a new government and a separate "national conference" tasked with rescheduling the election and drafting a new constitution.

Algeria's longtime leader, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has been known as a wily political survivor ever since he fought for independence from France in the 1950s and 1960s.

Farrah did not trust the outgoing president's promises.

On March 3, after his campaign manager submitted his candidacy papers, Bouteflika tried to appease protesters by offering to hold a national dialogue conference, change the constitution, and hold a vote within a year - in which he vowed not to run, but later changed his mind.

"France expresses its hope that a new dynamic that responds to the aspirations of the Algerian people can get under way quickly", Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

Exceptionally, some judges also joined a lawyers' protest in the city of Bedjaia in Kabylie, a region historically opposed to the powers-that-be in Algiers.

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