Calls grow in Algeria for Abdelaziz Bouteflika to be declared unfit to lead

Triggering of constitutional process could lead to ousting of the ailing president

The coalition ally of Algeria’s ruling party has called for the country’s ailing president to resign, piling pressure on Abdelaziz Bouteflika after the army chief also demanded he be declared unfit for office.

In a statement signed by its leader, recently sacked prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia, the National Rally for Democracy (RND) on Wednesday said it “recommends the resignation of the president… with the aim of smoothing the period of transition.”

The army chief, Lt Gen Ahmed Gaid Salah, said in a televised address on Tuesday that the time had come to trigger a constitutional process to remove the president. Popular protests calling for Bouteflika to go have held in Algeria for more than a month.

“It is necessary, even imperative, to adopt a solution to get out of this crisis that responds to the legitimate demands of the Algerian people, and which respects and adheres to the constitution and safeguards the sovereignty of the state,” Lt Gen Salah said.

Article 102 of Algeria’s constitution allows the constitutional council to declare the presidency vacant if the incumbent is too ill to exercise his functions, then ask parliament to declare him unfit. The leader of the upper house would then take over in a caretaker capacity for 45 days.

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