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Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika Will Resign in Late April

Algeria’s eldest statesman will resign in late April as political tensions rise.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, a longtime leader for 20 years, will resign from office by April 28, 2019, according to state media on Monday, April 1. Bouteflika initially sought to seek a 5th presidential term despite having personal health issues at 82 years-old, but ultimately he decided not to do it. Internal pressure most likely came from his own people during street protests nationwide since February that publically called for his immediate resignation from office as well as future elections to be held in 2019.

During these protests, the Northern African country’s Constitutional Council has been meeting to determine whether Bouteflika is suitable or not to continue to be in governmental office. If the Constitutional Council decides to remove Bouteflika from the presidency, a ruling would have to be approved or disapproved by a two-thirds majority of legislative members in both houses of the national parliament located in the capital city of Algiers. According to the national constitution, if the president resigns or dies while in office, the head of the upper house of parliament, the Council of the Nation, becomes interim president for 3 months while a national election is set up.

The political situation in Algeria is becoming reminiscent of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings when authoritarian regimes in Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria collapsed. However, the majority results of those movements almost 10 years ago have been darkened with the continuing illiberal militarized rule in Egypt and civil wars in both Yemen, Syria, and Libya. Tunisia became the only known country after the Arab Spring to succeed in democratization despite economic stagnation and security issues.

Update: Bouteflika announced on Wednesday, April 3 that he will resign early from the presidency. Former president of the upper Council of the Nation, Abdelkader Bensalah, will succeed Bouteflika as interim president until elections are held sometime in 2019.

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