Algeria's army chief calls for Bouteflika's ousting

Algeria's army chief calls for Bouteflika's ousting
General Ahmed Gaid Salah was addressing the military staff when he expressed support for the protesters demanding President Bouteflika steps down.
2 min read
26 March, 2019
General Ahmed Gaid Salah, centre, said Algeria's Consitutional Council should remove President Bouteflika [Getty]

Algeria's army chief, Ahmed Gaid Salah said on Tuesday that the solution to the country's ongoing political crisis lies in the implementation of the Constitution's Article 102, which provides for the dismissal of the President of the Republic.

Following six weeks of protests across the north African country, General Gaid Salah, also the country's deputy minister of defence, was addressing the military staff in Ouargla, in the south east of the country.

"In this context, it becomes necessary, even imperative to adopt a solution to get out of the crisis, which responds to the legitimate demands of the Algerian people, and which guarantees the respect of the provisions of the Constitution and the maintenance of the sovereignty of the state," he said.

Popular protests have been calling for the ailing president, as well as his clan and regime, to step aside after nearly twenty years in power.

"A solution able to reach a consensus of all the visions, and to obtain the unanimity of all the parts [of the country], [is] namely the solution stipulated by the Constitution, in its Article 102," said the general.

That article states: "When the president of the republic, because of serious and lasting illness, is totally unable to perform his duties, the Constitutional Council meets as of right, and after verifying the reality of this impediment by all appropriate means, proposes, unanimously, the parliament declare the state of impediment."

If two-thirds of MPs agree, the parliament is then responsible for appinting an interim head of state for a maximum period of 45 days.

Demonstrations against Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term in office have brought millions of protesters onto Algeria's streets for each of the past five Fridays. Smaller demonstrations have also been taking place on other days.

Massinissa Benlakehal is a freelance journalist, covering politics, society, human rights and security related issues in North Africa.

Follow him on Twitter: @mbenlakehal