by Mildred Europa Taylor, at 06:16 am, April 08, 2018, Politics

81-year-old Algerian leader is terribly ill but must still contest next polls, here’s why

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is rarely seen in public. Even when he does, he has to be in a wheelchair since he suffered a stroke in 2013.

Nevertheless, the 81-year-old leader is being urged by his party supporters to seek a fifth term in office.

The head of the governing National Liberation Front (FLN) Djamel Ould Abbas, while speaking to party lawmakers on Saturday formally asked Bouteflika to run in next year’s election in May.

“The last word remains with him, of course,” Ould Abbas was quoted by news site AFP.

He further commended Bouteflika’s leadership for the stability he has delivered to Algeria since it emerged from a 1990s civil war.

But opposition members have often criticized Bouteflika for corruption, economic difficulties and a lack of political freedom.

FLN has dominated the North African country since it won independence from France in 1962.

The party of the president and its coalition ally, Rally for National Democracy (RND) won a clear majority in parliamentary elections last year.

The election was however greeted with a disappointing turnout amidst uncertainty over the health of the president and the above concerns.

Ahead of the 2019 general election, no other presidential candidates have emerged as they are holding on to see whether Bouteflika will run.

Advertisement

Sign up to receive updates from Face2face Africa,

including news alerts, upcoming events and giveaways