A veteran Algerian diplomat and protest groups will join a conference planning the country’s future after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika yielded 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, the source told Reuters. It will oversee the transition, draft a new constitution and set the date for elections.
Bouteflika, 82, abandoned his bid for a fifth term in power on Monday, bowing to weeks of rallies against his 20-year rule by people demanding a new era of politics in a country dominated by an old guard.
Crowds celebrated late into Monday night and were back on the streets of central Algiers on Tuesday chanting: “We want this system to go”.
After meeting the president on Monday, Brahimi praised protesters for acting responsibly, saying on state television that it was necessary to “turn this crisis into a constructive process”.
Algerians have grown tired of the ailing leader and other veterans of the 1954-1962 war of independence against France who have dominated a country with high unemployment, poor services and rampant corruption.
Algeria’s powerful military is expected to play a behind-the-scenes role during the transition and is currently considering several civilians as candidates for the presidency and other top positions, political sources said.
One of them includes a prominent lawyer and activist Mustafa Bouchachi, who has gained a wide following on Facebook during the protests.