Algerian Army Chief: Embattled President Bouteflika Unfit to Rule
Algerian army chief Ahmed Gaed Salah has called for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to be declared unfit to rule, and for Abdelkader Bensalah, chairman of the upper house of parliament, to take over for 45 days. The report came from Ennahar, an Algeria-based TV channel. Bouteflika, who has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, recently agreed not to run for a fifth term amid weeks of demonstrations that brought thousands onto the streets of Algiers. But he also canceled the scheduled April 18 elections and called for a commission to rewrite the country’s constitution, which would then be put to a national referendum. In addition, he said he would remain in office past April 28, when his current term is scheduled to end, without mentioning a date for future elections – something construed as an attempt to hold on to power. Since independence from France in 1962, Algeria’s military has always had a hand in the country’s politics.