Algeria's biggest union and an influential party yesterday backed an army call for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to quit in a managed exit plan that was quickly rejected by protesters demanding the overthrow of the entire political elite.
The statement from the National Rally for Democracy (RND), a member of the ruling coalition, came a day after the military - Algeria's traditional kingmakers - said Bouteflika should be declared unfit for office.
The General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA), long a staunch supporter of the president, also said it supported the army call for Bouteflika to step down.
The announcements by three pillars of the establishment were a clear signal that the 82-year-old president has little to no chance of staying in power in the North African country.
But the leaders of five weeks of mass protests fuelled by anger over alleged corruption, nepotism and economic mismanagement said the plan still did not go far enough, risking a confrontation with the military.
Protesters have repeatedly said they would reject any orchestrated succession in politics and want a transition which will lead to a government by consensus.