Algeria confirms vacant presidency after Bouteflika’s resignation

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Algiers – The head Algeria’s Constitutional Council on Wednesday confirmed the post of president is vacant, paving the way for a three-month transition period after the resignation of President Abdeaziz Bouteflika.

The 12-member Constitutional Council met a day after Bouteflika bowed to military pressure and weeks nationwide protests to end a tenure that spanned two decades.

Algeria’s constitution, the council’s confirmation now allows the country to organise fresh elections in a 90-day transition period.

The process foresees both houses parliament convening, and Abdelkader Bensaleh, the president of the upper house, being named interim leader.

Bensaleh, however, does not have the support Algeria’s opposition and thousands of who lead the movement against Bouteflika.

They see Bensaleh as an ally the ousted 82-year- president and question whether he can ensure a democratic transition and fair elections.

In recent weeks, Bouteflika faced nationwide protests against his rule.

In March, he yielded to the demands of and renounced his bid for a fifth term in office and indefinitely postponed the presidential polls, originally scheduled for April 18.

His plans failed to appease protesters, who saw the moves as a trick to prolong his term in office.

As protests continued, Algeria’s military joined the calls for Bouteflika’s departure, with military chief staff Gaid Saleh calling for a constitutional procedure to declare Bouteflika unfits to rule.

Bouteflika had been in power since 1999, however, suffered a stroke in 2013 and has rarely been seen in public since then.

Media report said that he would resign before his term ends on April 28, due to incapacity of the president to run the country. (dpa/NAN)