Algeria’s ruling coalition parties have officially announced the candidacy of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a fifth term in the presidential election scheduled for April 18, a month before the expiry of the candidacy deadline.
A joint statement was issued on Saturday evening after a meeting of leaders of the coalition parties in the headquarters of the ruling National Liberation Front party. It said that the coalition parties “decided to nominate the Mujahid Abdulaziz Bouteflika as a candidate for the elections in appreciation of his wise and unerring decisions and in praise of the important achievements Algeria has achieved under his leadership.”
Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said: “President Bouteflika has the right to run for a fifth term. I am convinced that he will. This does not need to be guessed or calculated. I expect President Bouteflika to announce his candidacy in a message addressed to the Algerian people.”
Ouyahia said that Bouteflika “does not need an electoral campaign, because the presidential coalition supports him, and the people know him, appreciate his achievements, and have supported him in all stages.”
The Algerian opposition questions Bouteflika’s ability to rule because of his deteriorating health situation and asked him not to run, which is rejected by loyalists who say he is still capable of ruling the country.
About two weeks after the start of the candidacy applications, the Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday the reception of 172 candidacy applications, mostly by unknown figures.
Among the most renowned figures who have announced their candidacy is Abdelaziz Belaïd, Head of Front El Moustakbal party, Abderrazak Makri, Head of the Movement of Society for Peace, Abdel Qadir bin Qrina, Head of Harakat El BINAA El Watani, former Head of Government Ali Benflis, retired General Ali Ghediri, and the Secretary-General of the Workers’ Party, Louisa Hanoune.
Most of the prominent candidates hinted at the possibility of their withdrawal in case Bouteflika announced his candidacy, except for retired General Ali Ghediri, who said: “In case Bouteflika runs for the presidency, I will firmly face him as a citizen. I challenge the regime and it does not scare me.”