The Debate - After Bouteflika: Will Algeria protests force out old guard?

Algerian President Abandons Bid for 5th Term Following Mass Nationwide Protests

Thousands of protesters returned to Algeria's streets Tuesday after jubilation over President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's vow not to seek re-election gave way to fears of a plot to prolong his two-decade rule.

But had it really been heard?

It remained unclear whether the Swiss court would admit the case, and Ditisheim acknowledged the sensitivity of the issue and told AFP the court might try to stall until Bouteflika was flown back to Algeria.

"I particularly understand the message of young people in terms of both anguish and ambition for their own futures and that of the country".

While celebrating Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's decision to step down from the upcoming April's presidential election, hundreds of protesters have demanded the immediate resignation of Bouteflika from the post.

Peaceful protests began in Algeria on February 22, days after Bouteflika, who has been in power for 20 years, announced his bid to run in the April presidential election.

On 10 February 2019, a press release signed by Bouteflika announcing he would seek a fifth consecutive term provoked widespread discontent and the largest street protests in almost 18 years.

Bouteflika's promise of a "national conference" to carry out reform and set a date for new elections "before the end of 2019" suggested he may stay in office for another year.

"The entire world, and all of Algeria knows that he is no longer of this world", he told reporters, charging that powerful players in Algeria had an interest in maintaining the illusion that Bouteflika was alive to keep their grip on power in the country.

Algeria's powerful military is expected to play a behind-the-scenes role during the transition and is now considering several civilians as candidates for the presidency and other top positions, political sources said.

The worldwide reaction was comparably upbeat, as French President Emmanuel Macron proclaimed the beginning of a new chapter in Algerian history, provided the transition period has a "reasonable duration".

"There is no legal basis for postponing the elections", she said, adding that "in the event of a political crisis, the Algerian constitution is partially ineffective".

The replacement became official after a meeting between Bouteflika and the two officials, who are considered very close to him. Or will the country's ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) Party, in power since Algerian independence, prevail?

Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, an unpopular political figure and a technocrat who was broken by the intrigues of politics, has been sacrificed and replaced by one of the strong men of the moment: Noureddine Bedoui, 59, who was until Monday interior minister.

The conference will lead to a "transformation of our nation state", and fix the date of the next polls, the president said. Ramtane Lamamra, a diplomatic advisor to Bouteflika, was named deputy prime minister.

Lamamra is a veteran diplomat who was foreign minister between 2013 and 2017, and is held in high esteem overseas.

Older Algerians haunted by the civil war in the 1990s tolerated crackdowns on dissent in exchange for stability, giving the government some breathing space.

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