Bouteflika might resign this week

Orient Net 2019-04-01 11:18:00

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Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika might resign this week, the private Ennahar and El Bilad TV channels said on Sunday (March 31), after mass protests and pressure from the army demanding he end his 20-year rule, Reuters reported.

The reports come after the army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah, renewed a call on Saturday for the Constitutional Council to declare the ailing 82-year-old Bouteflika unfit to rule.

Seeking to defuse the demonstrations, Bouteflika said on March 11 he was dropping plans for a fifth term. But he stopped short of stepping down immediately, to wait for a national conference on political change.

That further enraged protesters, prompting Salah to step in by proposing last week to ask the constitutional council to see whether he is still fit for office.

Bouteflika, who has rarely been in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, might announce his resignation on Tuesday, Ennahar TV said, citing political sources. El Bilad TV, quoting unnamed sources, said he would quit this week.

State media did not report similar reports, and there was no immediate comment from the presidency.

Ennahar said Bouteflika was preparing his resignation in accordance with article 102 of the constitution, which allows him to quit or face the verdict of the constitutional council whether he is still fit for office.

Late on Sunday, hundreds took to the streets in the capital, Algiers, to demand Bouteflika go, according to residents and pictures posted on social media.

The reports came hours after Bouteflika named a caretaker Cabinet. Political sources said that might be a signal that Bouteflika could resign, as a caretaker president cannot name Cabinets.