Algeria’s army chief called on Tuesday for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to be declared unfit to govern, following weeks of mass protests urging on the ailing leader to step down.
General Ahmed Gaid Salah said in a televised speech the “way out of crisis ... is in Article 102” of the constitution, under which the president could be declared unable to perform his duties due to serious illness.
Based on Article 52 of the Algerian constitution, the chairman of the parliament's upper house, Abdelkader Bensalah, would serve as caretaker president for at least 45 days.
Thousands of people rallied in Algiers on Tuesday calling on Bouteflika to quit, keeping up the pressure in weeks of protests that threaten to topple him and the elderly elite that has helped keep him in power for 20 years.
Bouteflika, among the veterans of the 1954-62 war of independence against France who continue to dominate Algeria, has bowed to protesters by reversing a decision to seek another term and putting off elections that had been set for April.