Skip to main content

Bye-bye Boutef: Algerians rejoice on social media after president's resignation

Between euphoria, determination and questioning, citizens welcome a future without Bouteflika
Hundreds of thousands of Algerians have taken to the streets since mid-February to protest against Bouteflika running for a fifth term in office (AFP)

For the first time in two decades, Algerians woke up on Wednesday to a new political reality after 82-year-old Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned from his post as president late Tuesday night after weeks of protests swept the country.

The country took to social media overnight to express their elation and disbelief at the news.

Translation: - No one sleep tonight. Imagine they take advantage of our slumber to take back his resignation and tell us they’ve changed their minds by the time we wake up.

- An April Fool’s joke? It’s possible

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


Bouteflika officially notified the president of Algeria's Constitutional Council of his "decision to end his presidential mandate", his office said in a statement released by the state-run Algeria Press Service on Tuesday, marking the end of a political career that lasted over half a century.

Video footage of an enfeebled Bouteflika, who had scarcely been seen in public since a 2013 stroke, handing over his resignation to Abdelkader Salah - the head of the Council of the Nation and acting president of Algeria during the transitional period - nonetheless sparked some mixed feelings.

Translation: Much more than sadness. This video doesn’t look real, but to see the photo of the president above and the video, it’s not the same person. What is the point of showing him in a diminished state if not to humiliate him one more time… he didn’t deserve this.

Hundreds of thousands of Algerians have taken to the streets since mid-February to protest against Bouteflika running for a fifth term in office, calling for his removal as well as that of the broader political apparatus.

Several Algerian artists who have supported the mass social movement against the president also expressed their elation on social media.

Translation: Freedom. This incredible people.

Translation: Only one hero, the people. Towards a free Algeria, democratic and popular. The struggle continues. Long live Algeria.

While welcoming "Bouteflexit" - which until recently had seemed but a distant dream - many cautioned that the removal of the elderly head of state was only the tip of the iceberg.

Translation: After yesterday’s celebrations, the people remain lucid. The path from a confiscated independence to an independence regained is still long and must go through the establishment of a civil republic: this new battle begins today!

Some Algerians expressed deep skepticism about the broader political apparatus or “cadre” (literally “frame”) relinquishing power so easily.

Translation: Corrupt people protect corrupt people. And as soon as the population start a movement against this corruption the army moves to protect their interests and the interests of traitors without considering the nation/population…selling them cheaply.

Translation: This is smoke and mirrors, a political jettison. We throw Bouteflika (already dead biologically and politically) overboard so the pirate ship can remain afloat...

But in spite of the long road ahead, optimism prevailed.

Translation: The regained pride of a whole people. The exemplarity and courage of the Algerian people remains intact. Algeria was anesthetised for decades and now it awakens. The lion awakens and returns!

One thing is for sure: with Bouteflika gone, commonly held views on what to expect in Algeria are also out the window.

Translation: A journalism school professor back in the day: “Algeria? But why go, nothing happens there!”

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.