Skip to main content

A look back at Abdelaziz Bouteflika's years in power

France 24 screen grab

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika submitted his resignation on Tuesday, shortly after the country's powerful army chief of staff demanded that he be declared unfit and leave office "immediately".

ADVERTISING

Hundreds of Algerians took to the streets of the capital late on Tuesday to celebrate the final departure of Bouteflika after 20 years of power.

Young people joyfully were waved Algerian flags or drove in convoys tooting their horns. The celebrations focused on the the city centre, where the successful  February 22 mass protests began against the veteran ruler.

Bouteflika, who suffered a stroke in 2013, is rarely seen in public and Algerian's questioned who is really running the country.

Long accused of clinging to power, the veteran leader faced mounting pressure to step down even after his decision not to seek a fifth term.

Resign before end of month

The 82-year-old said last month he would not run again, and on Monday his office said he would resign before his mandate expires at the end of the month.

The moves failed to satisfy protesters who feared it was just a ploy to extend his rule and the armed forces chief called for him to step down.

Algeria is a major oil and gas producer, and when the “Arab Spring” revolts toppled autocrats in neighbouring countries, Bouteflika used oil revenues to secure loyalty. Many Algerians with dark memories of the civil war in the 1990s set aside the same frustrations that triggered revolts elsewhere.

But the price of crude oil has dropped over the years and the young are desperate for jobs, with around 1 in 4 of those under the age of 30 unemployed.

Figure from the past

Bouteflika was key in the struggle to liberate Algeria from colonial power France in the 1950s at the age of just 19.

Bouteflika is also widely credited with helping to end the crippling civil war – which pitted the army against Islamist insurgents – that killed some 200,000 people in the 1990s. But the leader has been largely out of sight since he suffered a stroke in 2013 that confined him to a wheelchair and severely impaired his speech.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP and AP)

This page is not available

The page no longer exists or did not exist at all. Please check the address or use the links below to access the requested content.