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

12 March, 2019, 14:10 | Author: Carlos George
  • Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika./Ph. DR

He promised to set up an interim body that will oversee the organisation of new elections and the drafting of a new constitution.

Celebrations popped up instead of protests on the streets of the capital, Algiers, at the news.

The white Gulfstream 4SP jet, with "People's Democratic Republic of Algeria" written on the side and the Algerian flag on the tail, landed at the Geneva worldwide airport Cointrin shortly before 10am. "This is a small victory of the Algerian people over the regime", Mohamed, a 27 year-old cook, told Al Jazeera while honking his horn.

"Our protests have borne fruit!"

"There will be no fifth term".

In his statement, Bouteflika said the new constitution will be voted on in a national referendum.

Abderrahmane, 25, criticised Bouteflika's move to cancel the election without announcing a new date.

Bouteflika, in a message carried by national news agency APS, said the presidential poll would follow a national conference on political and constitutional reform to be carried out by the end of 2019. The conference will be headed by an "independent, consensual and experienced national figure".

Late on Monday, Ennahar TV announced that the new prime minister was Noureddine Bedoui and said Ramtane Lamara was appointed to the new position of deputy prime minister.

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Algerian teenagers and lawyers held protests Monday, and workers held scattered walkouts, as their tense nation waits to see whether ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika offers any concessions in the face of unprecedented protests.

A coterie of people have grown rich under Bouteflika and are thought to exert pressure on the presidency. "We must turn this crisis into a constructive process".

Contacts are now underway with prominent war veterans who may take part in political changes including, Djamila Bouhired, Zohra Drif Bitat, Lakhdar Bouregaa, said political sources.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian welcomed President Bouteflika's decision not to seek re-election.

"We have won the battle". "They're just 13-year-old kids". Nearby, other young Algerians made V-for-victory signs.

However, more than two-thirds of Algerians are now under 30, and are seeking a more "democratic Algeria" as they chanted in the protests.

For the past two weeks there have been daily protests across the country and on Friday tens of thousands took to the streets of the capital in a largely peaceful rally.

Dubbed Boutef by Algerians, he had helped foster peace after the decade-long civil war, but he also faced criticism for alleged authoritarianism. "Bouteflika asked for another year and he got his way".

The security forces have been mostly restrained during the demonstrations, a signal of the establishment's eroding willingness to keep the president in power through force.

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