After weeks of protest, Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will resign, according to state-run newspaper APS. He is expected to step down before his term expires on April 28.
A communiqué from the president’s office said Bouteflika would take several “important measures to ensure the continuity of the functioning of the State institutions during the period of transition,” APS reports.
Demonstrators have been calling for the 82-year-old to relinquish power for weeks. Bouteflika, who came to power two decades ago, is widely believed to be incapacitated by illness; critics say he has left the reins of Africa’s biggest country in the hands of a civilian-military elite.
Algerians first took to the streets in mass protests against the upcoming presidential elections, in which Bouteflika initially planned to run. The government announced on March 11 that Bouteflika would no longer seek a fifth term in office and that the April 18 elections would be postponed.
The resignation announcement comes nearly a week after the Algeria’s army chief called for Bouteflika to step down. He cited a provision in the constitution stating that if the president’s health prevents him from carrying out his function, the presidential office must be declared vacant.