Algeria’s Bouteflika finally bows to pressure

“The president of the Republic, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has officially notified the president of the constitutional council of his decision to end his mandate as president of the republic,” a statement aired by Algeria’s state news agency APS said.

The statement of his resignation with immediate effect is what the majority of Algerians have been anticipating for more than two weeks. Finally, their months of protests have paid off.

Since February, the North African country has witnessed social unrest after Bouteflika announced that he would be standing for a fifth term, having already spent 20 years in office. Algerians, though thankful for the peace the 82-year old had brought to Algeria, were tired of his leadership and required a new face of power.

As of 1999, when Bouteflika first came in power, Algeria was still engulfed in crisis. The country was in a choas, the rebels were divided and the time was right for Bouteflika, who seized the opportunity, with the help of the military to defeat the rebels and end the war.

Finally, peace reigned in Algeria until the president who has not been seen in public for years decided to run for re-election again. Tens of thousands protested across the country on March 1 and even when Bouteflika promised not to serve his fifth term if re-elected, that did not end protests as many see his continued stay in power, especially as the election had been postponed indefinitely, as unacceptable.

According to the Algerian constitution, the Senate speaker would take over as interim head of state until fresh elections are held.

However, news of Bouteflika’s resignation is unlikely to totally appease Algerians, who seem to want nothing but a total overhaul of the current political class.