Algerian President Bouteflika to quit before 28 April

The resignation comes after miilions of Algerians have taken to the streets calling for the 82-year-old to step down

Photo: EPA Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced he will resign before his fourth term expires on 28 April. The 82-year-old, who has been in power for 20 years, will ensure "continuity of the state's institutions" before he quits, a presidential statement carried by the official APS news agency reads. Initially Bouteflika declared his candidacy for a fifth term, but on 11 March he withdrew and postponed the election - originally slated for 18 April - in response to the massive protests, demanding his resignation.

Despite Bouteflika's resignation, however, Algerian students on social networks called for large protests to be held on Tuesday in the capital and the rest of the country. Mohamed, a member of a student union in Algiers, said that the departure of Bouteflika is not "enough".

"It does not change anything. He will leave but the same regime, which has ruled Algeria since 1962 and its independence, will stay if we don't continue to protest. What we want is not only Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down, but we also want the creation of a new political system," he told Al Jazeera.

Millions of Algerians have been holding weekly protests nationwide calling for the 82-year-old to step down after almost 20 years in office since many citizens believe the octogenarian's health has declined to such an extent that he is now being used as a front by a group of businessmen, politicians and military officials known as "le pouvoir" (the power), who do not want to give up their influence. This group dominates the National Liberation Front (FLN), which has governed Algeria since independence from France in 1962.

Corruption scandals related to infrastructure and hydrocarbon projects have also dogged Bouteflika for years and tarnished many of his closest associates.

Thus, protesters are calling for the departure of not just the president, but also an entire generation of Algerian political leaders, including those who would be in line to succeed him because they want a new system of government, not simply someone replacing the ailing president.

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