Algeria’s army chief says Bouteflika should be declared unfit to rule

He has urged parliament to declare the president unable to perform his duties due to serious illness.
bouteflika
(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on March 26, 2019 shows Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (L) during an official visit to Zeralda, a suburb of the capital Algiers on April 10, 2016, and Algeria’s Chief of Staff General Ahmed Gaid Salah at the Houari-Boumediene International Airport in Algiers, on May 20, 2014. – Algeria’s chief of staff called today for Bouteflika to be declared unfit to govern, following weeks of mass protests demanding the ailing leader to step down. (Photos by Eric FEFERBERG and Farouk Batiche / AFP)

Algeria’s army chief called Tuesday for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to be declared unfit to govern, following weeks of mass protests demanding the ailing leader  step down.

The move would potentially clear the way for elections to be organised in the coming months unless the president recovers.

“It is necessary, even imperative, to adopt a solution to get out of the crisis which responds to the legitimate demands of the Algerian people, and which guarantees the respect of the provisions of the constitution and safeguards the sovereignty of the state,” General Ahmed Gaid Salah said in a televised speech.

The armed forces chief of staff, considered loyal to Bouteflika, added that the solution “is in article 102” of the constitution, under which parliament could declare the president unable to perform his duties due to serious illness.

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The 82-year-old leader uses a wheelchair and has rarely appeared in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.

Bouteflika said last month he would run for a fifth term in office, despite concerns about his ability to rule, triggering a wave of protests that brought hundreds of thousands into the streets.

He later promised not to stand for another term but also postponed the elections, angering protesters who saw the move as a ploy to stay in power.

The army chief’s call was welcomed with car horns honking in Algiers.


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