A leader of Algeria's ruling FLN party said late on Thursday March14th that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has announced he will not run for another term in response to mass protests, "is history now", according to Reuters.
The remarks by Hocine Kheldoun to Ennahar television deal another major blow to Bouteflika, who hoped to pacify Algerians by promising to take steps to change the political landscape which has been dominated by the president and the ruling elite for decades.
Kheldoun said it is time for the FLN party, that holds the majority in all elected assemblies, including parliament and local city councils, to look forward and to support demonstrators.
Thousands of Algerians have staged protests for weeks demanding a handover of power to younger technocrats who would focus on unemployment, poor services and stamping out corruption, while offering the country better social freedoms.
Bouteflika, 82, has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013. He has lost one ally after another in recent weeks as he clings to power.
A former minister who is familiar with Bouteflika's inner circle told Reuters that the president could not survive in the face of the growing pressure from Algerians of all social classes.
“Game over. Bouteflika has no choice but to quit now," he said.