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Army chief challenges Bouteflika's fitness for office

Algeria’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Defence Minister, Ahmed Gaid Salah [Johnny Bivera/Wikipedia]
Algeria’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Defence Minister, Ahmed Gaid Salah [Johnny Bivera/Wikipedia]

Algerian army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah on Tuesday called for the activation of a constitutional article with the aim of having 82-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika deemed unfit for office, Anadolu Agency reports.

In remarks broadcast on state television, Salah cited Article 102 of Algeria's national charter, which states that the parliament speaker should assume executive authority in the event of the president's incapacitation.

The speaker can hold the position of interim president for a maximum period of 90 days, during which presidential elections must be conducted.

The interim president, however, is not allowed to contest the poll, according to the constitutional article.

READ: Algeria opposition proposes presidential committee to lead transitional phase

Following several weeks of demonstrations against his intention to run for a fifth term in office, Bouteflika last week indefinitely postponed polls and officially withdrew from the running.

Nevertheless, Algerians have continued to stage mass demonstrations  against Bouteflika, who they accuse of unconstitutionally extending his fourth term in office.

In February, Algeria's ruling National Liberation Front nominated Bouteflika, who has ruled Algeria since 1999, to run for a fifth presidential term.

Opposition figures, for their part, had repeatedly urged the ageing leader (who in 2013 was treated for a blood clot in the brain) to refrain from contesting the poll.

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