President Bouteflika of Algeria abandons re-election bid

Algerian president back home amid mass protests against him

Algerian president back home amid mass protests against him

Video posted online showed stunned citizens in Algiers' central Audin Square waving their arms with joy to a chorus of celebratory auto horns.

"Our protests have borne fruit!"

In response, a popular Algerian satirical Twitter account tweeted, "We said no to a fifth term". But he postponed an election set for April, meaning he will likely remain in power for some time.

Bouteflika, who is 82 years old, made his announcement one day after returning from Switzerland, where he had undergone a medical checkup in connection with a stroke he suffered a stroke in 2013.

- 1963-79: Bouteflika is foreign minister under Ben Bella and the country's second president Houari Boumediene.

In a letter addressed to Algerian citizens on Monday, Bouteflika announced the holding of the presidential election as an extension of the "inclusive and independent" national conference and the "formation of a government of national competences". A new constitution would be submitted to the public for a referendum.

"My health and my age only permit me to fulfill my last duty towards the Algerian people (that) is to work on laying the foundations of a new republic", wrote Bouteflika.

The country will, he said, hold a national conference until the end of 2019 to find a successor and plan for the future.

Protesters wave Algerian flags and hold posters opposing Algeria President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term in Paris Sunday

On Monday, the president named Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui as the new prime minister to replace Ahmed Ouyahia. Ramtane Lamamra, who was Bouteflika's diplomatic adviser, was appointed deputy prime minister, it said.

Brahimi was formerly a United Nations mediator on Syria, and his appointment could ease concerns of foreign allies anxious about Algeria's unrest.

The judges say they will not act against the will of the people. "We must turn this crisis into a constructive process".

Contacts are now underway with war veterans who may take part in the transition, including Djamila Bouhired and Zohra Drif Bitat, two of the most famous guerrilla fighters of the conflict, political sources said.

The army will likely rely on respected figures like Brahimi, and old friend of Bouteflika, to mediate.

Algerian teenagers and lawyers held protests Monday, and workers held scattered walkouts, as their tense nation waits to see whether ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika offers any concessions in the face of unprecedented protests.

Bouteflika once again welcomed the peaceful and civic nature of the protests that brought together several social sectors such as journalists and students.

Bouteflika, who came to power in the aftermath of Algeria's 1954-62 independence war against France, has promised "deep reforms". "He wants to steal victory from the people by claiming to be the saviour of Algeria", he said.

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