In the wake of the resignation in Algeria of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the UN Secretary-General on Wednesday saluted “the mature and calm nature” of protests involving hundreds of thousands of citizens who took to the streets peacefully in recent weeks, to express “their desire for change.”
In a statement issued by his Spokesperson, António Guterres took note of the 82-year-old president’s decision to resign, after 20 years in power. Mr. Bouteflika announced in late February, that he would seek a fifth term in office, despite rarely being seen in public since suffering a stroke, in 2013.
Several days ago, the wheelchair-bound leader reportedly reversed his decision, after weeks of peaceful protests in which hundreds-of-thousands of Algerians took to the streets, calling for him to go, and for others in the political elite to step down.
“The Secretary-General salutes the mature and calm nature in which the Algerian people have been expressing their desire for change”, said the statement from Mr. Guterres. “He looks forward to a peaceful and democratic transition process that reflects the wishes of the Algerian people.” National elections are sheduled for the end of this month.
In the capital, Algiers, on Tuesday night, tens-of-thousands took to the streets in celebration at the news, which Mr. Bouteflika delivered to the nation, via a live television broadcast. A few hours earlier, the chief of the Algeria’s armed forces, had called on him to leave office immediately, declaring him incapable of carrying out his duties, according to news reports.
“The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations’ continued commitment to supporting Algeria in its process of democratic transition”, the statement concluded.