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Algeria's Army Chief Calls for Removal of President Bouteflika

  • Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria

    Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 March 2019

The military's break with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika comes after weeks of peaceful protests by hundreds of thousands of Algerians against the president's decades-long rule.

Algeria's army chief of staff, Ahmed Gaed Salah, said Tuesday that the country's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was unfit to rule calling for his removal and placing a caretaker government for 45 days. Based on the constitution, the upper house chairman Abdelkader Bensalah would serve as caretaker president.

Algeria: New Gov't Talks Begin as Anti-Bouteflika Protests Continue

"We must find a way out of this crisis immediately, within the constitutional framework," Lt Gen Ahmed Gaed Salah, said in a televised speech.

Ahmed Gaed Salah said on Algerian television the solution to the political crisis was to apply article 102 of the Algerian constitution. Under that article, the constitutional council could determine that the president is "too ill to fully exercise his functions," and ask parliament to declare him unfit.

Bouteflika is facing an unprecedented political challenge since he took office 20 years ago. 

A month ago, demonstrations began to demand the resignation of the Algerian president, who has been seriously ill and disabled since he suffered an acute stroke in 2013.

In response, Bouteflika announced the postponement of the April 18 presidential elections, the formation of an inclusive government, the holding of new elections on an undefined date and the drafting of a new constitution.

Citizens believe that it is just another political maneuver envisioned by an exhausted ruling elite which has governed the country since 1962.

"The problem is that the Constitution has been twisted so much that everyone uses it for particular purposes," Amir B.L., a lawyer, said and added that "the only thing certain is that Bouteflika is no longer president, he no longer represents the Algerians because he has lost his legitimacy."

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