President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

BREAKING: Algerian Army calls on President Bouteflika to quit office immediately

NEWS DIGEST – The Algerian Army has stepped in to ensure the exit of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office.

The Chief of Army Staff, Gaed Salah, said in a televised announcement Tuesday that Mr Bouteflika was unfit for office.

The army chief urged an immediate adoption of the country’s Article 102, which allows for a president to vacate office if declared unfit, according to Algerian media.

The development comes days after the 82-year-old leader said he would not stand for reelection for another term, following a wave of protest about six weeks ago.

The protests stemmed from Mr Bouteflika’s extended medical vacation in Switzerland, which citizens said was costing the country too much in terms of state business.

Mr Salah was the first to meet Mr Bouteflika when the ailing leader returned home to announce he would not stand for election again earlier this month.

Mr Bouteflika, however, postponed the scheduled presidential elections to allow for some issues to be resolved.

Mr Salah said the military was with the people, and their demand for a new leader would be looked into.

The military chief has now urged the country to activate constitutional provisions to ease Mr Bouteflika out of office without crisis.

It was not immediately clear how Mr Bouteflika would respond to the call, especially as the military represents a crucial decider in power formation in Algeria.