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Algerian president promises to stand down after next election in response to protests

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Algerian president promises to stand down after next election in response to protests
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Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika responded on Sunday to recent mass protests against his bid to seek re-election, saying he had "listened and heard the cry of the heart of the protesters."

In a letter read out on Algerian TV on behalf of Bouteflika, the longtime president acknowledged protesters' demands by making six commitments should he be re-elected in April.

"Algeria needs to continue its march towards democracy, progress and prosperity without breaking up the processes of accumulation of its acquis," he said.

"I have the duty and the will to appease the hearts and minds of my compatriots."

What are Bouteflika's six commitments?

The letter, which can be read in full on Facebook, lays out six promises from Bouteflika, if he wins his fifth presidential term in April's election.

But what are these six commitments?

  1. National Conference debate to be held after election on political, institutional, economic and social reforms
  2. A referendum on a new Constitution

  3. The implementation of public policies guaranteeing a fairer redistribution of national wealth and the elimination of marginalisation and social exclusion

  4. Adopt new policies focusing on the economic and social development of Algeria's youth population

  5. Revisions of Algeria's electoral law, including the creation of an independent election body
  6. The organisation of an early presidential election

In the sixth commitment, Bouteflika promised that he would stand down and not seek re-election for a sixth term.

Protests

Hundreds of students continued on Sunday to protest against the government, urging the president to step down.

There was heavy police presence around the Council building and ten minutes walk away, officers stopped people from leaving the college campus.

The demonstrations have been the largest turnout in eighteen years, which started ten days ago.

Bouteflika is rarely seen in publicly since suffering a stroke in 2013.

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