Amid Protests, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika Drops Bid For Fifth Term
After weeks of protests against his long-time rule, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika postponed the April 18 national elections and confirmed he will not seek a fifth term in office. Bouteflika’s candidacy provoked mass demonstrations across the North African country over the past few weeks, with the public calling on the man that has led Algeria for 20 consecutive years to step down. Since suffering a stroke in 2013, Bouteflika rarely has been seen in public. In response, Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia announced his resignation and immediately was replaced by Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui, who has been tasked with forming an interim government. The move comes after more than 1,000 judges said they would refuse to oversee the elections if Bouteflika contested the vote. Thereafter, the army’s chief of staff asserted that he shares the public’s vision for the future, ostensibly offering protesters the support of the most powerful institution in Algeria since the country gained independence from France in 1962. No new date for the elections was set, nor did Bouteflika suggest he would resign prior to the vote.