18 March 2019

Algerians demonstrate against presidency election delay

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Algerians staged demonstrations in several parts of the country on Friday to protest President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s decision this week to postpone presidential elections. reports citing Anadolu Agency.

On Monday, Bouteflika announced, following weeks of popular protests, that presidential elections -- originally slated for April 18 -- would be postponed to a later date, yet to be decided.

The 82-year-old leader also announced his decision to refrain from running in the upcoming poll, saying the move reflected “the will of the people”.

Bouteflika further vowed to form a new government and convene a conference devoted to “national dialogue”.

Mauritania’s opposition, however, has cried foul, viewing the move as a surreptitious attempt by the ruling National Liberation Front to prolong Bouteflika’s fourth term in office.

Demonstrations in capital Algiers, in which hundreds of protesters chanted anti-Bouteflika slogans, brought traffic to a standstill on Friday, according to witnesses.

Protesters also condemned French President Emmanuel Macron, who on Tuesday hailed Bouteflika’s decision not to stand for a fifth term, calling for a “transitional period of reasonable duration”.

Activists have shared video footage online purporting to show anti-Bouteflika demonstrations in Algeria’s Bejaia and Bouira provinces east of the capital.

And for the third week in a row, the Algerian authorities suspended mass transport in and around Algiers in hopes of damping down Friday’s protests.

Last month, the ruling party nominated Bouteflika, who has ruled Algeria since 1999, to run for a fifth term in office, sparking mass demonstrations.

Earlier this week, Bouteflika indefinitely postponed the election and withdrew his candidacy.

2019.03.15 / 19:14
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