09:24 GMT +318 October 2019
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    (FILES) In this file photo taken on May 04, 2017 Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is seen on a wheelchair as he votes at a polling station in Algiers.

    Party of Algerian Ruling Coalition Calls on President Bouteflika to Step Down

    © AFP 2019 / RYAD KRAMDI
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    CAIRO (Sputnik) - The party of the Algerian ruling coalition, the Democratic National Rally (RND), on Wednesday called on Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down, the party said in a statement.

    "The Democratic National Rally recommends that the president resign… to facilitate the start of a transitional period in the country in accordance with the constitution," the statement said.

    According to the statement, RND also called on Bouteflika to form a government as soon as possible to avoid a power vacuum.

    RND along with the National Liberation Front (FLN) party form the ruling coalition in Algeria. Last week, FLN also voiced support for protesters who are calling for the transition of power in the North African country. Remarkably, both FLN and RND initially supported 82-year-old Bouteflika's re-election bid.

    Anti-government protests began in Algeria on February 22, days after Bouteflika, who has been in power for 20 years, announced his bid to run in the April presidential election. Opponents of his nomination argued that due to his state of health, the president would be unable to effectively govern the country. After suffering a stroke in 2013 and becoming confined to a wheelchair, the president barely speaks and has made very few public appearances.

    READ MORE: Fresh Protests Against Bouteflika Begin in Algiers — Reports

    On March 11 amid the protests, Bouteflika withdrew his bid for re-election and postponed the vote, initially scheduled for April 18. However, protests have continued, with people demanding immediate changes. Now, a national conference, expected to take place soon, will decide on the election date, according to the country's leadership.


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