Diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi to chair transitional conference on Algeria: Source
Reuters, , Tuesday 12 Mar 2019


A veteran Algerian diplomat and protest groups are expected to join a conference planning the country's future after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika bowed to mass demonstrations and agreed not to run again, a government source said on Tuesday.

Lakhdar Brahimi, a former foreign minister and U.N. special envoy, is expected to chair the conference. It will oversee the transition, drafting a new constitution and setting the date for elections.

The conference will include demonstrators' representatives as well as participants from Algeria's 1954-1962 independence war, the government source said.

After meeting Bouteflika on Monday Brahimi praised protesters for acting responsibly, saying on state television that it was necessary to "turn this crisis into a constructive process".

On Tuesday morning, dozens of people staged rallied in central Algiers, chanting: "We want this system to go".

Bouteflika, 82, has ruled for 20 years but has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.

Emmanuel Macron, president of Algeria's former colonial ruler France, said Bouteflika's decision opened a new chapter and called for a "reasonable duration" to the transition period.

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