Anti-Bouteflika protests continue in Algeria despite transition talks

Protesters in Algeria.

Thousands of protesters have continued to protest in the Algerian capital demanding President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s immediate resignation.

On Monday, the ailing leader postponed the April 18 presidential elections and dropped his bid for a fifth term.

Demonstrators have accused the president of a plan to continue his 20-year rule.

Talks have been arranged to negotiate Algeria’s political future, which will be led by veteran United Nations (UN) diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi.

The demonstrators, who chanted “No tricks, Bouteflika”, had responded to calls on social media to continue with the protests.

On Monday, President Bouteflika named Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui as the new prime minister to replace Ahmed Ouyahia.

Demonstrators claimed the move was proof that “those in power want to stay”.

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It is widely believed that a timetable has been set for the president’s departure to satisfy the protesters’ demands.

A date for the conference has not been set, but it will aim to oversee Algeria’s political transition, draft a new constitution and set a date for presidential elections.

Mr Brahimi was the UN and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria until 14 May 2014.

He met President Bouteflika on Monday and said it was necessary to “turn this crisis into a constructive process”.

The Algerian army is expected to play a key role in the transition and is currently considering contenders for president, Reuters news agency reports.

Among the contenders is Mustafa Bouchachi, an activist and a lawyer who has built a strong social media following during the protests.

Prominent protest leaders who participated in Algeria’s independence war in 1954-1962 will be among the representatives at the conference.

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