Algeria's president might resign: Reports

Algeria's president might resign: Reports

ALGIERS- Reuters
Algerias president might resign: Reports

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika might resign this week, the private Ennahar and El Bilad TV channels said on March 31, after mass protests and pressure from the army demanding he end his 20-year rule.

The reports come after the army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah, renewed a call on March 30 for the Constitutional Council to declare the ailing 82-year-old Bouteflika unfit to rule.

Seeking to defuse the demonstrations, Bouteflika said on March 11 he was dropping plans for a fifth term. But he stopped short of stepping down immediately, to wait for a national conference on political change.

That further enraged protesters, prompting Salah to step in by proposing last week to ask the constitutional council to see whether he is still fit for office.

Bouteflika, who has rarely been in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, might announce his resignation on April 2,  Ennahar TV said, citing political sources. El Bilad TV, quoting unnamed sources, said he would quit this week.

State media did not report similar reports, and there was no immediate comment from the presidency.

Ennahar said Bouteflika was preparing his resignation in accordance with article 102 of the constitution, which allows him to quit or face the verdict of the constitutional council whether he is still fit for office.

Late on March 31, hundreds took to the streets in the capital, Algiers, to demand Bouteflika go.

The reports came hours after Bouteflika named a caretaker cabinet.