Algerian president withdraws bid for re-election

Algerian president withdraws bid for re-election

Algerians are now expressing concerns that Bouteflika's decision might be a trick to avoid further pressure and tension.

"When you think about it, what Bouteflika wrote is basically something we rejected before", she said.

He stopped short of stepping down immediately - and crowds who took to the streets of Algiers again on Tuesday said they wanted a quick transition. Perhaps not yet. A new constitution has been promised, but no timetable has been set.

Lakhdar Brahimi, a former foreign minister and United Nations special envoy, is expected to chair the conference that will oversee the transition, draft a new constitution and set the date for elections, the source told Reuters.

The unprecedented citizens' revolt began last month and has drawn millions into the streets of cities across the country to say no to a fifth term for their 82-year-old president - and no to a system blamed for corruption and keeping Bouteflika in office despite his ailments.

National television broadcast footage on Monday night of Bouteflika in his trademark three-piece suit receiving several senior officials.

Messages posted overnight on social media urged students across the country to "end this system, end this mafia" with more protests planned on Friday. "This is a small victory of the Algerian people over the regime". At the time, he said that if he won, he would call for new elections within one year.

But for numerous protesters, the most important sentence said: "There will be no fifth term".

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Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia handed his resignation to Bouteflika, who later appointed Bedoui in his place.

Young people have been at the forefront of the push against Bouteflika, and thousands of students thronged the streets of Algiers on Tuesday.

"He scraps the presidential election but stays in power: the latest ploy by Bouteflika", the influential El Watan newspaper said on its front page.

In recent days, a consensus had emerged around the postponement of the 18 April election.

"We support efforts in Algeria to chart a new path forward based on dialogue that reflects the will of all Algerians and their aspirations for a peaceful and prosperous future", State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told a briefing.

The day before, Bouteflika announced his decision not to run in the presidential race and to postpone the vote, initially scheduled for April 18.

The election process was thrown into chaos on Monday when the current President bowed to the pressure of weeks of mass demonstrations, promising a transition to a new government.

As Walid Laggoune, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Algiers, told public radio: "The constitution does not provide for any provision on the postponement of elections".

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