Algeria‘s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has agreed to hand over power to an elected president. This means the opposition will be allowed to take part in the cabinet that will oversee elections. The changing political landscape comes amid massive protest led by thousands of students.
Bouteflika conceded to his people’s demands at a news conference in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Algerian Prime Minister, Ramtane Lamamra confirmed that the president will not be a candidate in the next elections.
“President Abdelziz Butaflika has pledged that he will not be a candidate in the (presidential election) and has pledged that he will hand over the presidency to the person that the Algerian people will elect with full transparency and freedom as the new president of People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.”
Lavrov said that Moscow supported the Algerian government’s initiative to hold talks with the opposition after weeks of protests.
“We support these plans, we count on that it will help stabilise the situation in this friendly state through a national dialogue based on the Algerian constitution, and of course, with the respect of international law and UN Charter by all of the interested nations.”
Lamara said the Algerian upcoming presidential election will take place under a new constitution.
“This election will be organised by an independent national electoral commission, the first time in the history of Algeria. Moreover, the opposition will be given way to join the government which will oversee the upcoming presidential electoral process.”
Bouteflika is facing a groundswell of discontent and protesters have called for him and his inner circle to step down. Protesters are also calling on the army to play its constitutional role without interfering in what they call the people’s choice:
“We have come out to protest and to fix the laws of this country and, God willing; all will be for the best.”
Protesters have been calling for a generation of new leaders to replace a ruling elite dominated by the military veterans and big businessmen with ties to the establishment.
On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron said his country is having dialogues with Algeria on its transition to a new government, but does not want to overstep its boundaries.