President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria resigned Tuesday amid mass protests and calls by senior military leadership for his resignation.
Bouteflika, a former foreign minister and veteran of Algeria’s war of independence from France, had been in power since 1999. He was originally planning to seek a fifth term in office, but resigned after continued pressure. The pressure started with mass protests in February, which led him to offer to step down at the end of his current term on April 28. The protesters were not satisfied with this deadline and the pressure culminated in the Chief of the Army Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah demanding his immediate resignation.
Bouteflika had suffered a stroke in 2013 and had rarely been seen in public during the last years of his tenure. He has been represented in public by the Chairman of the Upper House of Parliament Abdelkader Bensalah who is expected to serve as interim president for the next few months until the recently postponed elections can be held. In addition to a change in government leadership, the protesters have also been calling for significant government reforms to be enacted. The protesters believe the president’s resignation may be an opportunity to implement some of these.