In a statement through the state media, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria's fifth president since 1999, has announced that he will not be seeking a fifth term in office. The statement comes amidst weeks of mass protests in Algeria over Bouteflika's re-election bid. The president also announced the delay of the country's presidential election.
"There will be no presidential election on April 18," Bouteflika said in reference to the scheduled date of the vote. He added that he was responding to a "pressing demand that you have been numerous to make".
The announcement declared that the elections would follow a national conference on political and constitutional reform to be carried out by the end of 2019 and that a government reshuffle would take place soon. Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia has also resigned and Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui has been appointed as his replacement.
Bouteflika, currently 82 years old, has been ailing and in a wheelchair since suffering a stroke in 2013. He has rarely been seen in public since the stroke, leading critics to question whether he is being used as a puppet candidate by a faction of civilian and military figures. The announcement comes after Bouteflika's return from Geneva, Switzerland, where he had been on a two-week medical trip.
Header Image Credit: TSA-Algérie