President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria is preparing to announce his resignation, a privately owned Algerian TV network said on Sunday, following weeks of mass protests and the army chief of staff’s call to have the president declared unfit for office. Citing unnamed political sources, the network, Ennahar TV, reported that Mr. Bouteflika might announce his
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria is preparing to announce his resignation, a privately owned Algerian TV network said on Sunday, following weeks of mass protests and the army chief of staff’s call to have the president declared unfit for office.
Citing unnamed political sources, the network, Ennahar TV, reported that Mr. Bouteflika might announce his resignation on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
Also on Sunday night, Algerian national television announced that Mr. Bouteflika and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui had named a new government, and that it would keep Gen. Ahmed Gaïd Salah as the army chief of staff and vice defense minister.
General Gaïd Salah shocked the nation with his call last week for the Constitutional Council to set in motion a process to end Mr. Bouteflika’s 20-year presidency. Critics accused the army chief of trying to orchestrate a coup, and he suggested Saturday that unnamed figures were plotting against him as a result of his stand against Mr. Bouteflika’s presidency.
Under Article 102 of Algeria’s Constitution, a Constitutional Council can declare Mr. Bouteflika unfit for office or he can resign.
Millions of Algerians have been holding weekly protests demanding that Mr. Bouteflika leave office along with the distrusted political elite around him. Algerians have barely seen their president, now 82, since he had a stroke in 2013.
Mr. Bouteflika withdrew from running for a new term but canceled Algeria’s presidential election, which had been set for April 18. Pressure has mounted for him to step down before his current term expires later this month.
On Friday, the sixth mass protest in a row appeared to reinforce the political deadlock: Protesters have dismissed the proposal from the army chief of staff to sideline Mr. Bouteflika, install the head of the Senate as interim president, and hold elections.
Until the demonstrations this year, close allies of Mr. Bouteflika had long held Algeria’s politics in their control. In recent weeks, many of those figures have deserted him as the demonstrations appear to have gained the upper hand.
On Sunday, a top Algerian businessman, Ali Haddad, was arrested at an Algerian border post as he was apparently trying to go to Tunisia, Algerian news media reported. Journalists at the private television channel Dzair News, owned by Mr. Haddad, said he had been arrested overnight in Oum Tboul, close to the Tunisian border.
Mr. Haddad, long a backer of Mr. Bouteflika, resigned this week as head of Algeria’s Business Forum, apparently trying to distance himself from the unpopular leader whose government has been accused of corruption.