Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the president of Algeria, on Monday announced in a letter that he would not seek a fifth term as president and called off the presidential elections scheduled on April 18. He explained that a national conference on political and constitutional reform would be held and a new Constitution written and approved by referendum.
The stunning development came after mass protests by Algerians since Feb. 22 opposing Mr. Bouteflika’s attempt at re-election. Mr. Bouteflika, who is 82, had a stroke in 2013 and hasn’t addressed his nation in six years. Algerians found his desire to hold on to power absurd and insulting.