President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced on Monday, March 11, that he will not run for a fifth term and has postponed the April 18 presidential elections following weeks of sustained anti-government protests. Details are still emerging and it is currently unclear when elections will take place. Bouteflika indicated in a statement published on Monday evening (local time) that he will move to reshuffle his government in the coming weeks. The government will also establish a national conference to address reforms (subject to a referendum) and set a new election date.
Political rallies and protests are likely across Algeria in the wake of President Bouteflika's announcement. A heightened security presence and associated disruptions (e.g. transportation, commercial, internet service) are likely during protests. Clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out.
Widespread protests have been organized across the country since February 22 in response to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's announcement that he would seek reelection to a fifth term; presidential elections were originally set for April 18. In early February, the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) officially nominated Bouteflika as their candidate.
Bouteflika has been in power since 1999. Public discontent has mounted in recent years in regards to Bouteflika's economic policies, his infrequent public appearances following a stroke in 2013, and government repression of free speech; such frustrations have led to the largest and most extensive anti-government demonstrations in Algeria in recent weeks since the 2011 Arab Spring protests. Public demonstrations in Algeria, banned since 2001, are usually rare and are often met with a heavy security presence.
Individuals in Algeria are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all public demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate business and transportation disruptions as well as a heightened security presence near protest sites, refrain from discussing political subjects in public or on social media, and adhere to instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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