Algeria's 76-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was on Saturday designated as his party's candidate for president in
the 2014 election, the National Liberation Front (FLN) said.

"The central committee has chosen the president of the party, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to be the FLN candidate in the next presidential election," said a party statement issued after a meeting in the capital.

Bouteflika, in power since 1999, returned home in July after nearly three months in France recovering from a mini-stroke, and presided over a cabinet meeting on September 29 for the first time this year.

Bouteflika has not himself spoken of being a candidate in 2014.

A limit on the number of consecutive presidential terms was removed by a constitutional amendment in November 2008, allowing Bouteflika to stand for a third term in office.

"The choice was a natural one given the positive assessment" of his three terms as Algerian head of state, FLN head Ammar Saidani said in a speech at Saturday's meeting.

On Saturday, Saidani insisted that the FLN decision to propose Bouteflika as its candidate in next year's election was constitutional.

"The former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected four times, and he was in a wheelchair," he said.
Several members of the FLN central committee boycotted Saturday's meeting.

They called it illegal because of Saidani's controversial election as chief at an August meeting in which only some 273 out of 340 members of the central committee were present.

Saidani said 288 members of the central committee attended Saturday's meeting.

The FLN has been in open crisis since parliamentary elections in May last year, and the internal turmoil worsened when Abdelaziz Belkhadem was ousted as party chief in February.

Source: Agencies