Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his resignation on Tuesday night, marking the end of his 20 years in power. The 82-year-old leader, who had sought running for a fifth term despite his poor health, stepped down after weeks of massive protests against his rule.
Here's what you need to know about his resignation:
Bouteflika has ruled the nation since 1999
His fourth term in office, starting in 2014, came a year after he suffered a debilitating stroke. Despite not personally campaigning for the election and rarely appearing in public, he won 82 percent of the vote, though this is disputed by his opponents.
His current mandate was set to expire at the end of April.
He was pressured into resignation by protesters as well as the military
Bouteflika uses a wheelchair and has rarely been seen in public since suffering the stroke in 2013. Since late February, tens of thousands of Algerians have taken to the streets to peacefully protest against his bid for a fifth term as president.
Several powerful figures have also called for his resignation, including the head of Algeria's military, Lt Gen Ahmed Gaïd Salah, and former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia. According to The Guardian, Salah recently urged the country's parliament to implement article 102 of the constitution and declare Bouteflika "unfit to rule on grounds of ill health."
In a brief statement broadcast on state television, the leader announced he has submitted his resignation with immediate effect.
"My intention [...] is to contribute to calming down the souls and minds of the citizens so that they can collectively take Algeria to the better future they aspire to," Bouteflika's letter to the president of the Constitutional Council read.
Algerians are celebrating the news, but demanding further revolutionary change
According to the BBC, celebrations were held in the Algerian capital of Algiers in response to the news, with people singing, honking their car horns, and waving the Algerian flag.
Still, the opposition's concerns extend beyond Bouteflika's rule, as it insists on the departure of the entire ruling establishment.
"Algerians will continue to protest for the overthrow of the regime, and for a transitional period led by personalities who agree with the principles of the protest movement," said the protest movement Mouwatana in a statement, as reported by The Guardian.
Bouteflika installed a new government prior to his resignation
Last Sunday, the departing president named a new caretaker government headed by Noureddine Bedoui. The cabinet is set to remain in power until the presidential elections.
The head of the upper house of parliament will now act as an interim leader
As per the Algerian constitution, the head of the upper house of parliament, Abdelkader Bensalah, is now required to serve as interim president for up to 90 days while a presidential election is organized. It is worth noting that Bensalah is a Bouteflika ally.
While a presidential election had been scheduled for April 18th, Bouteflika delayed the vote in March. The date of the upcoming vote is yet to be announced. It remains unclear who will be voted as his official successor.