Ahmed Sadok, Head of the parliamentary bloc of the Movement of Society for Peace (the largest Islamic party in Algeria), said on Sunday that the candidacy of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a fifth term in the upcoming elections constitutes a threat to the future of Algeria and may harm the country’s internal and external reputation.
Algeria’s ruling coalition parties announced on Saturday the candidacy of Bouteflika for a fifth term in the presidential election scheduled for 18 April. However, Bouteflika has not yet officially announced his candidacy.
The Algerian opposition is sceptical about the ability of Bouteflika, 81, who has been ruling Algeria since 1999, to run the country under his “deteriorating” health condition, and demands that he not run, which is rejected by loyalists who say he is still capable of ruling the country.
MP Sadok, Head of the parliamentary bloc of the Movement of Society for Peace, explained to Al-Khaleej Online that “the pro-government parties have urged Bouteflika to run for the presidency.” He stressed that this candidacy does not serve the country’s interests because of the president’s illness and inability to be in charge of Algeria’s expected challenges.
The parties are still waiting. Sadok said: “Perhaps someone else will be chosen to lead the Algerian National Coalition, which needs a president to address his people, try to lead them out of these troubles, and to carry out the presidents’ diplomacy as in all the other countries.”
Sadok continued to Al-Khaleej Online: “We believe that this candidacy is absurd. The elections will probably be falsified or might be carried out without participation. Some might also say that the president does not need to run for the presidency, and he only needs to address the people to vote for him. This is a major fallacy.”
The Algerian MP considers that “the influence of a group of forces on the decision led to the people’s loss of interest in the political process. They consider that there is no hope from it, especially amid the political failure in various fields.”
The parties do not know whether “Bouteflika will respond to the voice of conscience and leave the presidency, or he will continue for another term?,” Sadok said.
Sadok explained that “as a citizen, Bouteflika has the right to run for another term, but the problem is that he is sick. They want to acquire power through him as he is helpless.”
The Movement of Society for Peace announced that its Head, Abderrazak Makri, would be a candidate in the upcoming elections.
The Movement of Society for Peace presents itself as a “moderate” Islamic movement, which was strongly supported by Bouteflika within the ruling coalition that he had formed, before leaving it since 2012.
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 competitors.
Among the most prominent figures who announced their candidacy were the Head of Front El Moustakbal party, Abdelaziz Belaïd, who ran for the elections in 2014. Also, Harakat El BINAA El Watani announced the candidacy of it Head Abdel Qadir bin Qrina.
However, Most of the prominent candidates hinted at the possibility of their withdrawal in case Bouteflika announced his candidacy for a fifth term, except for retired General Ali Ghediri, who said that his candidacy does not depend on Bouteflika and that he is “ready for competition.”