Algerian Army Chief demands removal of President Bouteflika

Algiers: Algeria’s army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah has demanded the removal of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, saying the incapacitated 82-year-old leader should be declared unfit to rule, following weeks of violent demonstrations against him.

Salah, in a televised address, said on Tuesday that he made the decision after considering the demands of the people.

“We must adopt a solution that helps us out of this crisis. A solution that respects and adheres to the constitution so that it’s a suitable one for all sides. This solution is stipulated in Article 102 of the Constitution,” Salah was quoted by Al-Jazeera as saying.

Under Article 102 of the Algerian Constitution, the Constitutional Council could ask the Parliament to declare a President to be unfit to rule the country if he or she is unable to fully exercise his functions due to ill-health.

Bouteflika has rarely made public appearances since suffering a stroke in 2013.

If a two-thirds majority of the upper and lower houses of the Algerian Parliament approve the Council’s decision, then chairman of the upper house, Abdelkader Bensalah, would take over as the interim president for about 45 days, according to Al-Jazeera.

Earlier this month, mass protests against Bouteflika’s previously planned fifth presidential run had rocked the African nation. However, Bouteflika later said that he would not seek a fifth term, adding that the presidential elections, previously scheduled for April 18, was postponed.

Critics have asserted that the delay in the upcoming elections is a ploy by Bouteflika to further extend his 20-year-rule.