Algerian President Bouteflika seeking fourth term
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who suffered a stroke last year, will run for a fourth term in an election in April, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said on Saturday.
The 76-year-old leader, who has ruled the North African nation since 1999, has not yet announced his own candidacy, but his political ally Sellal was speaking only 10 days before the deadline for formal registration on March 4.
Quoting a source close to the presidency, the premier will run the campaign, while Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi will take over the Prime Minister’s post.
“Bouteflika will be a candidate,” Sellal said in the northwestern city of Oran, in comments carried by Reuters. “Bouteflika’s decision to run comes at the insistence of the people and after some deep reflection.”
The premier also mentioned Bouteflika's health, which has been a concern since the president was treated in a Paris hospital last year.
“Even if he has not completely recovered physically, I can assure you he is in possession of all his mental and intellectual faculties,” Sellal added, according to the Associated Press.
There has been growing speculation in Algiers that the president will make an announcement on his future within days.
A veteran of the independence war against France, Bouteflika is backed by the ruling National Liberation Front party, and is expected an easy victory.
Supporters of the president laud him for ushering in an era of peace and economic stability after a civil war with Islamists in the 1990s, while critics say that he should resign for health reasons.