President bows to pressure, promises to quit office before handover date

Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika has announced his decision to quit office before the constitutional end of his tenure on April 28.

According to the BBC, Bouteflika’s announcement in a presidential statement on Monday followed tensed protests by members of the opposition party and critics of his government.

Protesters had carried slogans describing President Bouteflika’s new cabinet as “a blow to the people’s demands.”

The embattled leader, who faced mass protest against his government for over a month, had maintained his position as defence minister in a new cabinet he unveiled just on Sunday.

However, he kept as military chief of staff the powerful General Gaid Saleh, who had earlier called for the him to be declared unfit for office on health grounds.

That notwithstanding, the opposition Labour Party of Algerian described the new cabinet as a new face for an old government.

The party said, “It is unclear on what basis these figures were chosen.

“The so-called new government aims to ensure the continuity of the regime and the repressive presidential system rejected by the overwhelming majority.”

Also, former Prime Minister and opposition politician, Ali Benflis, had criticised the new cabinet, saying “it is authoritarian practice that provokes the people.”

Meanwhile, WE4WEREPORTS reported that President Bouteflika’s resignation means there will now be a transitional period.

Noteworthy is the fact that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1963 to 1979.

As President, he presided over the end of the bloody Algerian Civil War in 2002, and he ended emergency rule in February 2011 amidst regional unrest.

He was the president of the United Nations General Assembly for a term in 1974.