Euphoria gives way to scepticism day after Bouteflika abandons fifth term bid

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s announcement on Monday that he would not seek a fifth term in office left many shocked. Yet there was also concern that his decision to postpone the presidential election may be a ploy to cling to power. Bouteflika’s declaration that he would not run for re-election, and that the country’s upcoming presidential election on April 18 will be postponed to an as of yet unknown date, has sparked mixed feelings. Some Algerians hailed it as a victory but others voiced fears that the delayed vote may be a bid for Bouteflika to prolong his presidency by extending his term. The Algerian presidency said that a new date for the election will be set during a national convention. Until then, Bouteflika is expected to remain in power well beyond April 28, when his term is due to end. A new constitution is also expected to be submitted to the public for a referendum.