Algerian president Bouteflika offers to leave within one year if re-elected

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, facing mass protests over his 20 years in power, will run in April’s elections, his campaign manager said on Sunday, adding that he had offered to step down after a year if re-elected.

The ailing leader vowed in an 11th-hour letter read out on state television to organise a “national conference” that would set a date for early polls which he would not contest.

The announcement came after hundreds of students staged new protests on Sunday in the Algerian capital and other cities against a fifth term ahead of a midnight deadline for candidates to register for the April 18 vote.

The latest demonstrations came after tens of thousands of people took to streets of the capital on Friday in the biggest challenge in years to Bouteflika’s rule.

The veteran leader uses a wheelchair and has rarely been seen in public since a 2013 stroke.