Ailing Algerian president returns home amid mass demonstrations

Macron urges'reasonable transition period in Algeria

Macron urges'reasonable transition period in Algeria

The actions are part of the reforms announced by the 82-year-old president in response to the demonstrations unleashed on February 22 against a fifth term, which was dismissed.

More student protests are planned in other cities and nationwide protests are expected Friday. Other stores and administrative offices remained open.

On March 3, after his campaign manager submitted his candidacy papers, Bouteflika tried to appease protesters by offering to hold a national dialogue conference, change the constitution, and hold a vote within a year - in which he vowed not to run, but later changed his mind. "This will independently decide the date of the presidential election, in which I will not be a candidate in any instance", he said.

Still, a fundamental political shift will take time, Boubekeur told France's Le Monde newspaper, and demand negotiations between protesters and the government. "This is not a football match".

The election process was thrown into chaos on Monday when the current President bowed to the pressure of weeks of mass demonstrations, promising a transition to a new government.

He relented on Monday by announcing he won't run again and said presidential elections scheduled for April 18 will be postponed indefinitely.

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National television broadcast footage on Monday night of Bouteflika in his trademark three-piece suit receiving several senior officials.

"The students are resisting the extension of the fourth mandate", they chanted in an Algiers square that has been the epicentre of protests demanding Bouteflika resign.

"No to manipulation, let's be vigilant".

Algerian state news agency APS says Bouteflika has named the interior minister in his government as the new prime minister.

Bouteflika also failed to create an economy that could offer enough jobs for Algeria's growing youth population despite the nation's vast oil and gas wealth.

Bouteflika oversaw the end of the conflict but under his rule power was concentrated in the hands of a secretive military-based establishment known to Algerians as "le pouvoir" - the powers-that-be.

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Born in the border town of Oujda, Morocco, Bouteflika became one of his country's most enduring politicians.

The protests erupted last month against Bouteflika's plans to seek a fifth term, drawing millions to the streets.

Bouteflika did not give a date or timeline for the delayed election.

The president's pledge, a day after he returned from Switzerland where he spent two weeks at a hospital for medical checks, failed to convince his key rival Ali Benflis.

"To steer the transition, we have installed two establishment figures, who may have the interest of the state as a priority but embody everything except "change", concluded a disillusioned former political activist. Bouteflika is shown here meeting with Algeria's army chief, Ahmed Gaid Salah in Algiers, in a video grab from footage broadcast by Algeria's Canal Algérie network.

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