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Iran Press TV

Algeria's top military official urges President Bouteflika's dismissal

Iran Press TV

Wed Mar 27, 2019 05:41AM

Algeria's chief of military staff has called for a constitutional move that would end President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika's rule before his term officially ends.

Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah said on Tuesday that the best way to end a nationwide crisis that has engulfed the country was for the parliament to declare the ailing Bouteflika – who has ruled Algeria for two decades – unfit for office and remove him under Article 102 of the Algerian Constitution.

"It is necessary, even imperative, to adopt a solution to get out of the crisis that responds to the legitimate demands of the Algerian people and that guarantees the respect of the provisions of the constitution and safeguards the sovereignty of the state," Salah said in a speech broadcast by private television station Ennahar on Tuesday.

That solution, he said, was in the implementation of Article 102.

Article 102 of the Algerian Constitution stipulates that in case of the president's inability to perform his duties due to illness, the head of the national assembly take over as "interim president" until new a election is held. That decision has to be approved by a two-thirds majority in both houses of the parliament.

Since suffering a stroke in 2013, the 82-year-old Bouteflika has been using a wheelchair and has rarely been seen in public.

Mass protests began across the country after Bouteflika announced his bid for a fifth term in office earlier this month. Under increasing pressure, the Algerian president ultimately dropped his bid for another term, but protests have continued, demanding that he step down.

The Tuesday speech by Lieutenant General Salah was the first instance of direct intervention in the crisis by the military. The Algerian army had previously praised the protesters and said at the same time that it would not tolerate chaos, but it had also refrained from directly calling for Bouteflika's removal from office.

It was not immediately clear if the parliament would take up Salah's proposal.

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