The Debate - After Bouteflika: Will Algeria protests force out old guard?

Algerian president back home amid mass protests against him

Algerians took to the streets of the capital Algiers Tuesday to protest against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's decision to delay presidential elections indefinitely.

Bouteflika, in power since 1999, has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.

In a letter to the nation released by state news agency APS, the ailing leader also said the presidential election scheduled for April 18 would be postponed.

Sources told Reuters a conference on "planning Algeria's future" will be held soon, chaired by former foreign minister and United Nations special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. He said this would calm tensions, allow the country to move forward along a path of "serene, calm and public security", and let Algerian institutions "prepare as quickly as possible for the advent of a new era in Algeria".

Celebrations popped up instead of protests on the streets of the capital, Algiers, at the news the president had dropped his re-election bid.

The New York Times quoted former communication minister Abdelaziz Rahabi's dire prognosis: "Bouteflika is not running, but he's going to remain as president beyond April 2019".

Contacts are now underway with war veterans who may take part in the transition, including Djamila Bouhired and Zohra Drif Bitat, two of the most famous guerrilla fighters of the conflict, political sources said.

"It's one small battle won", said Yasmine Bouchene, of the collective Les Jeunes Engagés (Activist Youth).

Algerians have shown they are no longer willing to accept the status quo, and that will undoubtedly extend to close scrutiny of how the next election plays out.

Former colonial ruler France welcomed Bouteflika's decision. The conference will supposedly draft a new constitution and reschedule the election.

"We are now dealing with a president so eager to cling on power that he will stay in office until a date nobody knows", the 30-year-old manager added. Nearby, other young Algerians made V-for-victory signs.

Bouteflika announced his decision a day after returning home from Switzerland, where he had been receiving medical care since late February.

'The students are resisting the extension of the fourth mandate, ' they chanted in an Algiers square that has been the epicentre of protests demanding Bouteflika resign.

Calls were also put out for demonstrations to be held nationwide on Friday.

The protests trickled down to middle-schoolers and high-schoolers, with several hundred marching in the center of Algiers, also calling for Bouteflika to withdraw his candidacy.

Bouteflika oversaw the end of the conflict but under his rule power was concentrated in the hands of a secretive military-based establishment known to Algerians as "le pouvoir" - the powers-that-be.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Recovered black box from Ethiopian Airlines crashed flight is cockpit voice recorder
Mar 14, 2019 - 01:19
CTV went to Winnipeg's airport and spoke with passengers who were on a West Jet Boeing 737 Max 8 flight from Toronto to Winnipeg. Southwest Airlines is now operating 34 of the 737 Max-8 planes, while American Airlines now flies 24 of the Max-8 aircraft.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Death Row Inmates Saved From Execution By Governor Of California
Mar 14, 2019 - 01:03
Because of a series of legal challenges to its method of lethal injection, California hasn't executed a prisoner since 2006. Newsom's moratorium will therefore fly in the face of the most recent expression of the views of the people of California.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Felicity Huffman & Lori Loughlin Charged in College Exam Cheating Scandal
Mar 13, 2019 - 00:19
The FBI has uncovered a nationwide college admissions scam with agents arresting 50 people, including famous actresses and CEOs. Along with the parents, coaches and administrators of college entrance exams were also arrested.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Indian Wells: Novak Djokovic greets legend Pete Sampras after win
Mar 13, 2019 - 00:12
Third-seeded Zverev advanced when Slovakian foe Martin Klizan retired with an ankle injury with the German leading 6-3, 2-0. The preparation prior to the Australian Open was good because I had trained well but I did not play matches".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Malaysia Court Frees Woman Accused Of Assassinating Kim Jong Nam
Mar 12, 2019 - 00:48
Two women appeared to spread poison on Kim Jong Nam's face while he was walking through the Kuala Lumpur airport in early 2017. Vietnam has pushed less hard, and recently hosted Kim Jong Un for an official visit and a summit with President Donald Trump .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump to seek another $8.6 billion for border wall
Mar 12, 2019 - 00:43
President Trump will submit his budget to Congress today and it will likely be voted on in the coming weeks. Still, it's hard to see this budget proposal as a serious effort at curing Washington's fiscal problems.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Met Eireann has issued a 'snow-ice' warning for these nine counties
Mar 12, 2019 - 00:41
Wednesday night and Thursday will see the unsettled spell continue with further rain or showers but it should become less windy. Gales and snow caused disruption and battered parts of Britain as winds of up to 65mph swept through southern parts of England.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Canada sees second straight monthly employment surge with 55900 net new jobs
Mar 11, 2019 - 10:29
More young Canadians, between the ages of 15 and 24 years old, found work last month as youth employment gained 28,600 positions. The goods-producing sectors added 9,500 new positions following job gains in natural resources, agriculture and manufacturing.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Google Assistant Now Books Reservations in 43 States
Mar 09, 2019 - 00:39
As of now, users of the original Pixel, Pixel 2, and Pixel 3 smartphones can use Duplex if they are in any of the 43 U.S. states. As you can see from the video , after the Assistant is done answering you, it will remain in the top left corner of the display.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top SpaceX Crew Dragon success heralds a new era for NASA spaceflight
Mar 09, 2019 - 00:39
Whether you're new to the spacecraft or an expert, The Planetary Society's Crew Dragon mission page is your go-to resource guide. Boeing plans to launch its Starliner capsule without a crew as early as next month and with astronauts possibly in August.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Nintendo brings virtual reality to Switch with the new Labo VR kit
Mar 08, 2019 - 00:47
If you thought Nintendo was done pairing its cardboard Labo accessories with its hybrid Switch console , you're in for a surprise. You can also turn off the VR feature and use the included Screen Holder to experience content in 2D.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top MS Dhoni plays hide and seek with his fan in Nagpur
Mar 06, 2019 - 00:29
Earlier, Kohli steadily build the Indian innings even as he saw the fall of colleagues Shikhar Dhawan (21) and Ambati Rayudu (18). This was his 40th in the ODI cricket and he needs just 10 more centuries to break the Sachin Tendulkar's great record.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Game of Thrones promises death, deception & dragons in Season 8 trailer
Mar 06, 2019 - 00:27
There is plenty to speculate on, but what we do know for certain is that Season 8 will consist of a mere 6 episodes. At least for Game of Thrones fans, with the coutdown officially on for the final season of the HBO epic.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Solskjaer calls on United to summon spirit of '99
Mar 05, 2019 - 00:43
Lukaku cut a relaxed figure on Monday afternoon as he strolled through town in jeans and a khaki bomber jacket. After winning their last four league matches by an aggregate score of 12-1, it is clear to see why.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un Meet Again: Read Transcript
Mar 04, 2019 - 00:43
Asked if this summit would yield a political declaration to end the Korean War, Mr Trump told reporters on Wednesday: "We'll see". They are under pressure to reach concrete measures after making little progress following a historic first summit previous year .