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Algeria's army chief demands that Bouteflika be declared incapacitated

Algerian army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah has demanded that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika be declared incapable of government after weeks of protests over the failure of the head of state to seek a fifth term.

Although Bouteflika later reversed his decision, the 82-year-old postponed the April election and said he would remain in power until the passage of a new constitution, effectively extending his current term of office.

In a televised speech on Tuesday, Salah, the army chief, said he believed popular demands were valid and that the presidency should be vacated.

"We need to adopt a solution that will get us out of the way of this crisis … a solution that respects the Constitution and keeps it fit for all sides," Salah said.

"This solution is laid down in Article 1

02 of the Constitution," he said.

Under Article 102, the Constitutional Council was able to state that the President is too ill to carry out his duties in full and to ask Parliament to declare him unfit. Bouteflika is rarely seen in public since a stroke in 2013.

If a two-thirds majority of the House of Commons and the House of Lords ratifies the Council's decision, the House Leader, Abdelkader Bensalah, would serve as Administrator President for at least 45 days.

El Bilad Television said the Constitutional Council had called a special session after Salah's move.

The army chief is one of the leading estate agents in Algeria, and his announcement could pave the way for Bouteflika's removal.

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