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Algeria’s Long-time Ailing President Announces Controversial Bid For Fifth Term

Algerian President Abdel-Aziz Bouteflika announced he will seek a fifth term in office despite his ailing health and calls for new blood to rejuvenate the country’s moribund political system. The 81-year-old head of state, who rarely has appeared in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, spoke of an “unwavering desire to serve” and pledged to set up an “inclusive national conference” to address public concerns about the reeling economy. Bouteflika’s main opponent, former prime minister Ali Benflis, has not yet revealed if he will run in April’s elections but his party rejected Bouteflika’s candidacy. By contrast, current premier Ahmed Ouyahia offered support for the president, who is the front-runner to win the vote due to widespread backing from the nation’s entrenched political and business establishments. Analysts believe that Bouteflika’s decision could spark unrest in the country, given longstanding socio-economic gaps largely attributed to government corruption and cronyism.

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