Amid strong protests Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has taken a back foot by announcing not to run for a fifth term and not to seek re-election.
Elections in the country is set for next month but the 82-year-old leader has delayed it
The president said, “I particularly understand the message given by youth, in terms of anxiety and ambition for their own future and that of the country.”
The announcement was made a day after the leader returned home from Switzerland. Since late last month he is receiving medical treatment there.
Meanwhile, protesters rallied in several parts of the country against another term for him. Demonstrations were also seen in France where many Algerians live.
French President Emmanuel Macron too hailed the development. His tweet read, “The Algerian youth has expressed their hope for change with dignity… The decision of President Bouteflika opens a new page for Algerian democracy.”
Following Bouteflika’s announcement demonstrators across Algeria celebrated calling him to leave office immediately even though his current term to expire on April 28.
In 2013 the president suffered a stroke and since then he has been significantly out of public eye.
Bouteflika’s National Liberation Front party has dominated the country’s politics since 1862 when Algeria gained independence from France.
The recent mass protests stoked memories of Algeria’s civil war of 1991 when a multiparty election sparked widespread violence. More than 200,000 people were killed.
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