Algerian people still protest President Bouteflika’s position, calling for his immediate resignation, AP reported on Wednesday. The national leader resists stepping down immediately, while army chief of staff suggested military threatens to take control.
Algeria’s powerful armed forces are getting nervous and would possibly intervene in the tense social situation, confirmed chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah. After Abdelaziz Bouteflika bowed to demonstrators by announcing he had reversed a decision to stand for the fifth term, the mass protests didn’t calm, indeed. In reality, the 82-year-old president stopped short of stepping down and postponed elections due in April, in effect extending his current term until a new constitution can be prepared.
On Tuesday, the activists took to the streets again, maintaining their momentum ahead of scaled protests anticipated for Friday after prayers.
In a letter reported by Ennahar television, the veteran leader repeated an earlier plan for a national conference to reform the political system, which would be held shortly.
The forum will take “decisive decisions”, state television quoted him as saying. A new constitution will then pave the way for a new president, the private Ennahar station added.
Meanwhile, Russia has backed up Bouteflika’s authoritarian regimes, dismissing demands for change as western meddling. the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov claimed on Tuesday, without providing evidence, that outside powers were attempting to destabilise Algeria. According to Kremlin, Algeria’s Bouteflika has a power in the country, he is the only leader and legitimate president like Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela or Bashar al-Assad in Syria.