resident Abdelaziz Bouteflika
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria in power since 1999

Algeria’s ruling FLN party has dumped Abdelaziz Bouteflika, a President confined to a wheelchair since suffering a stroke in 2013, and who is being hit by increasing street protests demanding his resignation.

The protesters say Bouteflika, 82, who has been in office for 20 years, is no longer fit to rule.

Reuters news agency on Friday quoted a former minister who is familiar with Bouteflika’s inner circle, as saying the game was “over” for him.

“Game over. Bouteflika has no choice but to quit now,” the former minister said on condition of anonymity.

Bouteflika, who announced, sometime this year, that he was going to run for a fifth term in office, reversed his decision days ago, as mass protests against his rule continued to expand.

However, he stopped short of stepping down and announced that he will stay on until a new constitution was adopted.

But even his decision not to run again, after returning from medical treatment in Switzerland, did little to stop escalating street protests against him.

On Thursday night, Hocine Kheldoun, a former spokesman for the ruling party told Ennahar television that Bouteflika was “history”.

Local newspapers said Kheldoun was one of the most senior FLN officials to break with Bouteflika publicly.

He said the party was looking forwards and stood with demonstrators.

However, even his interview did not stop the protests, as thousands took to the street on Friday in the capital Algiers calling on Bouteflika and the ruling FLN to go.

More mass protests were expected in the early afternoon after Friday prayers.

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