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Algeria president Bouteflika steps down after weeks of protests, army pressure


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algeria-president-bouteflika-steps-down-after-weeks-protests-army-pressure

Apr. 2 2019

ALGIERS, Algeria – Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down on Tuesday after 20 years in office, and six weeks of massive nationwide protests aimed at pushing him and his much-criticized inner circle from power to create a real democracy in the gas-rich nation.

The announcement followed soon after a sternly-worded call from the powerful army chief for Bouteflika, 82 and ailing, to "immediately" bow out.

Crowds celebrated peacefully in the capital Algiers soon after his announcement. Honking car horns, singing songs and waving Algerian flags, hundreds gathered Tuesday night at the central post office — a plaza that has become a symbol of the protest movement. Police watched from the sidelines.

The Constitutional Council was expected to convene Wednesday to formalize his departure. Under the constitution, the president of the upper house, the Council of Nations, steps in as interim leader for a maximum of 90 days so that elections can be organized.

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