Protests against Bouteflika’s decision to run for a fifth term have borne fruits.
Rabat – Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has decided to withdraw his bid for a fifth term.
The move means Bouteflika is bowing to sustained, unprecedented popular movement against his decision earlier this year to seek reelection.
In a statement published by his office earlier today, the president said that there will be “no fifth term.” He stressed his commitment to the country’s good, suggesting his withdrawal was an acknowledgement that reelection would not benefit the country’s interests.
“There was never any question of it for me. Given my state of health and age, my last duty towards the Algerian people was always contributing to the foundation of a new Republic,” read part of the statement.
In power since 1999, Bouteflika’s earlier years in power brought social peace and economic stability to a war-torn Algeria.
In recent years, however, the ailing president’s perceived inability to effectively run the country incited public fervor against prospective reelection plans.
Bouteflika’s decision to seek a fifth term, which his party announced in February, met with widespread anger and frustration.
The decision to run for a fifth mandate led citizens to rally across the country. March 8 marked the beginning of the third week of demonstrations against Bouteflika.
Activists also took to French cities to protest the decision.
Bouteflika, who returned home yesterday, spent weeks in Geneva for medical care.
Prior to his decision to step down from running in the 2019 election, 1,000 Algerian judges decided to refuse to oversee elections.
Having withdrawn his candidacy, the president has announced the postponement of the 2019 election planned for April 18.
He promised an interim and independent leadership structure to organize the prospective elections. A date has not been specified yet.
“We announce our intention to abstain from … supervising the election process against the will of the people, which is the only source of power,” the statement of the judges read.