19 March 2019

Algeria: President Bouteflika Ready to Hand Over Power to Elected President

Photo: Lisa Bryant /VOA
Protester brandishing sign saying 'president not found' in reference to aging and frail leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika (file photo).

President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who reversed his decision to seek another term in the coming presidential election, expressed "readiness to hand over the power, in an open and transparent manner to the president which will be elected in this election," said Tuesday in Moscow Deputy Vice-Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra.

"President Bouteflika decided not to stand in this election and he is entirely ready to hand over the power in an open and transparent manner to the president which will be elected following this election," Lamamra told a news conference jointly held with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The opposition will have the possibility to participate in the monitoring of the elections, as part of a national conference in charge of reforming the political system in Algeria, said Lamamra, adding that the "Algerian State has responded speedily to the appeal of the population and has proposed to all the interested parties (civilian society, political parties...) to partake in this national inclusive conference."

"The presidential election will be organized in new conditions: for the first time in the country's history, all who wish to participate in the elections will be able to," he added.

For the first time, the election will be overseen "by an Independent Electoral Commission."

"At a later stage, the Algerian opposition will have the possibility to have a more active role in the governmental work," he added.

See also: President Bouteflika: National Conference will issue crucial decisions

The Algerian government has responded to the expectations of the people, who, for more than three weeks, were staging marches across the country, he said, adding he transmitted a message from President Bouteflika to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Algeria, Russia against interference in countries' internal affairs

Lamamra and his Russian counterpart stressed the need for the respect of the principle of the non-interference in the countries' internal affairs.

"Algeria and Russia "are friendly countries who share the same principles, notably the respect of the national sovereignty, the countries' territorial integrity and the non interference in the countries' internal affairs," he said.

As for him, Lavrov said he and Lamamra examined the international problems as part of the respect of the non-interference of countries' internal affairs.

"It is particularly important that all the countries respect in a sacred manner the UN provisions and restrain from any interference in Algeria's internal affairs," he insisted.

He voiced his country's concern about the "developments in Algeria." "We can see attempts to shatter the balance and are strongly opposed to any intervention in these processes," he added.

The "Algerian people must decide the preservation of stability," adding that "of course in this region, the countries themselves must maintain this stability and this is the call we are launching to them."

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