The current President of Algeria, Abdulaziz Boutaflika, has announced that he will run for a fifth term in the upcoming April elections despite concerns over his health.
Algerian President Abdulaziz Bouteflika announced he will run for a fifth term in the upcoming elections in April, saying his candidacy comes in response to the “appeals” of the people to continue performing “the highest duty.”
Bouteflika announced his candidacy in a message sent to the nation and published by the state-run Algeria Press Service (APS) on Sunday.
The President spoke of his “achievements” in restoring security and stability during the war on terrorism. He addressed the country’s economic situation, which experts described as the biggest failure of his two-decade rule.
“Of course, I am no longer the same physical force as before — something that I have never hidden from the people,” APS quoted him as saying.
“But the unwavering desire to serve… has never left me and it allows me to transcend the constraints linked to health troubles which everyone may one day face.”
The 81-year-old head of state uses a wheelchair and has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013. The last time Bouteflika addressed the public live was in May 2012.
The ailing President asserted that his will to run for a fifth term comes from his commitment to serve the nation.
He stressed that since his first term in 1999, he has devoted all his powers to suppress strife and embark on the reconstruction of the country.
The President also recalled the “Civil Harmony” (1999) and “National Reconciliation” (2005) laws, describing them as historical options that brought stability and security to the country.
In his message, Bouteflika pledged if re-elected to initiate this year a national inclusive conference which would aim at elaborating a “political, economic and social platform,” and “propose an enrichment of the Constitution.”
This conference would be mandated to establish “a consensus on reforms and changes” in Algeria, the message said.
“A stronger presence of young people” inside political institutions, economic reform and a scaling back of bureaucratic red tape would be among the topics to be discussed at the conference.”
APS also said Bouteflika wanted to amend the Constitution if re-elected. It did not specify what changes these would be.