Former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for over two decades stayed in power and until his final months in office, he held onto power despite not being in good health.
It took sustained protests from citizens mostly young people and the decision by his allies in government to question his fitness to remain in power for him to quit.
Days after resigning from office, Bouteflika is now asking his country folks for “forgiveness”.
In a letter published by the Algerian Press Service the 82 year old former leader conceded he “failed in [his] duty”.
Bouteflika decided to finally resign after the country’s army chief of staff called for procedures to remove him from office.
Fitness to govern questioned
Ahmed Gaid Salah for weeks questioned Bouteflika’s fitness to remain in office as president.
The army chief declared Bouteflika unfit to rule calling for “the immediate application of the constitutional procedure for removing the head of state from power.”
On Tuesday, President Bouteflika officially notified “President of the Constitutional Council of his decision to resign”.
Bouteflika in his letter published on Wednesday by the state press said he was “leaving the political stage with neither sadness nor fear” for Algeria’s future.
— APS | وأج (@APS_DZ) April 3, 2019
He also expressed his “gratitude” to Algerians for “the signs of affection and respect” from people he calls “dear sisters and brothers”.
He continued saying that “to err being human, I ask forgiveness for any failing.”
Forced out by protests
The demand for Bouteflika’s exit has been growing for weeks now but he continued to cling on to power.
Elections were supposed to have taken place this month to choose a new president.
Bouteflika had filed to contest that election but rescinded his decision at the peak of protests.
The protests were sustained for months contributing to his eventual decision to quit.
Bouteflika suffered stroke in 2013 and hardly made public appearances. He was confined to a wheel-chair and medically unwell at the later part of his presidency.