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President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria

Algeria’s ruling party backs President Bouteflika for 5th term

Algeria’s ruling party FLN has picked President Abdelaziz Bouteflika as its candidate for the April 18 presidential election, party leader Moad Bouchareb said on Saturday.

Bouteflika, 81, who has been in office since 1999 but has been seen in public only rarely since suffering a stroke in 2013 that confined him to a wheelchair, is likely to win a fifth term as the Algerian opposition remains weak and fragmented.

He will still need to make a formal announcement, probably in a letter that will be read on his behalf, before March 3.

“We at the FLN we have decided to pick Bouteflika as our candidate for the April presidential election. Let’s be ready for the campaign,” Bouchareb told about 2,000 supporters at a sports stadium in Algiers.

“We have chosen him because we need continuity and stability,” he added.

Bouteflika’s poor health had led to months of uncertainty about whether he would stand for election again.

His re-election would offer short-term stability for the elites of the FLN, the army and business tycoons, and postpone a potentially controversial succession.

But the president will need to find a way to connect with the North African country’s young population, almost 70 percent of which is aged under 30.

africanews.com

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