With president gone, Algerian officials plot next steps

Algeria is facing a new era after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's resignation — and questions about what happens next for this gas-rich country and ally to the West in fighting terrorism.

Algeria's 12-member Constitutional Council is expected to meet Wednesday to confirm the departure. National television showed a frail Bouteflika handing his resignation letter to Constitutional Council president Tayeb Belaiz.

Algeria's Constitution says that when a president dies or resigns, the Constitutional Council confirms the leader's absence and both houses of parliament convene. The president of the upper house is named as interim leader for 90 days while a presidential election is organized.

The current upper house president is Abdelkader Bensalah, a Bouteflika ally — as is the prime minister. The protesters who drove Bouteflika out want a drastic change of Algeria's political elite, seen as corrupt and secretive.