Algerian president Bouteflika may step down on Tuesday — TV

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CAIRO, April 1. /TASS/. Algeria’s 82-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, whose health has seriously deteriorated since a stroke in 2013, may announce his resignation on Tuesday, the Ennahar TV reported on Sunday night.

Last week, Algeria’s influential Deputy Defense Minister and Chief of Staff Gen. Ahmed Gaid Salah, who is a member of Bouteflika’s inner that which de-facto governed the country in past years, urged to enact Article 102 of the country’s constitution. The article says that in case of a president’s “serious and long illness,” an interim head of state should be appointed by the country’s parliament. In this case, 77-year-old chairman of parliament’s upper house, Abdelkader Bensalah, will become the country’s caretarker president.

However, the Constitutional Court, which is the country’s only state body with the authority to adjudge the president incapable, has so far left Salah’s call unanswered despite earlier announced plans to gather for an emergency session.

Meanwhile, a rally to protest against the recently appointed government, led by Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, gathered at the Maurice Audin square in the country’s capital Algiers on Sunday night, the TSA news portal reported. The government was formed on Sunday.

The participants, who are mostly young people, chant “The people want all of you [the political elite] to leave.”

On March 11, Bouteflika, 82, who has been Algeria’s President since 1999, said in his address to the nation that he would not seek a fifth term in office. He also postponed the elections scheduled for April 18, announced Cabinet reshuffle and the launch of a nationwide conference to devise the country’s new draft constitution.

He noted that the date for the new presidential election would be determined after the reforms and the approval of the new Constitution at the referendum.

However, the opposition rejected any dialogue with the authorities and refused to take part in the national conference. The opponents of the regime said they would continue mass protests and seek the departure of Bouteflika and his inner circle.

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