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Algeria: Bouteflika, a ghost-candidate in a presidential race

February 14, 2019 at 6:09 pm

President of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika casts his ballot to elect members of the country’s 462-seat parliament in Algiers on May 4, 2017 [Bechir Ramzy/Anadolu Agency]

In power since 1999, Abdelaziz Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013 that affected his ability to walk and to speak, says The North Africa Post.

Nailed in a wheelchair, he has hardly made any public appearances since then.

Despite his poor health condition, the official news agency APS announced that Bouteflika would run for a fifth term in the presidential elections scheduled for April 18.

A big question arises, however. Is it really Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 82, bedridden, who will show up? Or will it be only his ghost that will go to the polls? Or rather, will the ballot box move near his bedside to enable him to cast his vote?

Many voices have denounced the presidential election of April 18 as a masquerade, since the results are already sealed.

READ: Retired general Ali Ghediri becomes first presidential candidate

Meanwhile, independent media are muzzled and journalists are harassed when they are not thrown in prison by an obedient justice.

Political analysts see in Bouteflika’s candidacy an attempt to preserve the gains of a worthless oligarchy and authoritarian power, a civil-military oligarchy cemented by corruption, which has been erected as a system of governance that helps resolve conflicts between the different clans.

In the meantime, the government continues to send out reassuring messages, but the Algerians can no longer be fooled.

Who's really in charge in Algeria - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Who’s really in charge in Algeria – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]