Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika Resigns Early Under Pressure

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika Resigns Early Under Pressure”

Since suffering a stroke in 2013, Bouteflika has rarely been seen in public and has been represented by a portrait at public events.

Bouteflika "officially advised the Constitutional Council of the end of his term of office as President of the Republic" from Tuesday, said a news ticker on the public broadcaster.

The resignation came shortly after the military demanded impeachment proceedings be launched against Bouteflika, responding to Monday's announcement that the president would resign by the end of his term on April 28.

"This decision is triggered by my eagerness to prevent that the verbal excesses that unintentionally mark the situation turn into potentially risky drifts, and for the protection of persons and property which is the main prerogatives of the State", he wrote in a letter released by state-owned Algeria Press Service.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has stepped down after 20 years in office and weeks of massive nationwide protests aimed at pushing him out of power.

Calvin Dark, global affairs analyst, said Bouteflika's resignation underscored that it is the military that holds power in Algeria.

Algeria's army chief Lt Gen Ahmed Gaed Salah called for Bouteflika's resignation last week, citing a constitutional provision that allows for a snap election should the president's health prevent him from properly executing his duties.

"We see no room for any more procrastination", he said.

Salah eventually said it was time to go for the only leader many Algerians have known, some 70 percent of whom are under 30 years old. Mr Bouteflika's promise not to serve out a fifth term if re-elected, along with a change of prime minister, failed to quell the discontent.

Under the Algerian constitution, Abdelkader Bensaleh, chairman of the upper house of parliament, will take over as interim president until fresh elections are held.

The protests have been driven by the country's youth and lawyers demanding the removal of a ruling elite seen by many as out of touch with ordinary Algerians and presiding over an economy riven by cronyism.

On Monday, the presidency said in a statement that Bouteflika would resign "before April 28, 2019", after "important decisions" were taken, without specifying when these moves would occur.

Mr Bouteflika's hesitation further enraged protesters.

"What we want is not only Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down, but we also want the creation of a new political system", he added.

Supporters in the ruling FLN party and business people gradually abandoned Bouteflika.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said they had banned corruption suspects from leaving Algeria after launching investigations into corruption and illegal money transfers by unidentified people.

Haddad, who Forbes magazine describes as one of Algeria's wealthiest entrepreneurs, was detained at the weekend at a border post with neighboring Tunisia.

Algeria is facing a new era after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's resignation - and questions about what happens next for this gas-rich country and ally to the West in fighting terrorism.

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