Former Algerian Prime Minister Ali Benflis said President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s recent message, in which he stressed his commitment to a road map to overcome the crisis, “has gone beyond all the limits of provocation and defiance.”
This came in a statement issued by Benflis, one of the most prominent figures of the opposition in the country, on Tuesday, and seen by Anadolu, in response to Bouteflika’s recent message in which he confirmed his adherence to a roadmap announced days ago.
The roadmap stipulates the extension of Bouteflika’s fourth presidential term after April 28, to organise a dialogue conference leading to a constitutional amendment and early elections in which he will not participate.
According to the statement: “The Algerian people considered the message of March 3 (in which Bouteflika declared his candidacy) a provocation message. They also saw in the letter of March 11 (in which he withdrew his candidacy and announced the extension of his fourth term) all the specifications and elements of the flagrant defiance. The message of March 18 came in turn to exceed all the limits of provocation and defiance.”
Benflis explained that the Algerians have rejected Bouteflika’s previous proposals, “which are the acceptance of an unconstitutional and illegitimate extension of the fourth presidential term in exchange for a national seminar and a new constitution that have been falsely and blatantly put forward as the two original sources of a new republic and a new political order.”
The former prime minister has concluded by saying that the regime must “know that the element of time is no longer in its favour. This element has become the strong ally of the people themselves.”
Several provinces, especially the capital Algiers, have witnessed on Tuesday morning demonstrations and marches that have been organised by doctors, students and employees to demand the departure of Bouteflika’s regime from power, in the first response from the public to his last message.
Earlier on Tuesday, Algerian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ramtane Lamamra promised, from Moscow, that President Bouteflika would hand over the power “as soon as possible” after holding a dialogue conference and presidential elections.
Since the announcement of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of his candidacy for a fifth term on 10 February, Algeria has been witnessing protests and demonstrations rejecting this decision.