[QODLink]
Africa

Bouteflika sworn in as Algeria president

Ailing president takes oath for fourth time, as opposition parties boycott swearing-in ceremony.

Last updated: 28 Apr 2014 15:19
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Bouteflika, who has been in power since 1999 suffered a mini-stroke last year [Reuters]

Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been sworn in as Algeria's President for a fourth term, as opposition parties boycotted the swearing-in ceremony.

Sitting in a wheelchair, a year after suffering a mini-stroke, Bouteflika recited the oath in a hoarse voice and briefly thanked voters on Monday.

"I thank the Algerian people for their renewed confidence," Bouteflika said in his first public speech for at least two years.

"The April 17 election was a victory for democracy. It was a lesson in democracy," he added.

The seventy-seven-year-old, who rarely appears in public, promised national reconciliation in his speech.

Bouteflika, who has been in power since 1999, received more than 81 percent of the vote in the April 17 presidential election, despite not even taking part in campaigning.

The election was marred by low turnout and claims of fraud by his opponents, including main rival Ali Benflis, who received just 12.18 percent.

Opposition boycott

The opposition boycotted Monday's swearing-in ceremony, including five parties that had called on their supporters to stay away from the election.

Among the absentees was Benflis, who refused to recognise Bouteflika's re-election, saying doing so would make him "complicit in fraud".

Other parties that boycotted the election have since united into one front, calling for a national conference on May 17 to discuss a political transition.

Such a transition would include changes to the constitution such as imposing term limits, increasing parliamentary power and strengthening the judiciary.

Despite this, Bouteflika remains popular with many Algerians who credit him with helping end a devastating civil war.

But the president has faced an increasingly united opposition demanding political changes with his recent reign dogged by ill health and corruption scandals.

Algeria is experiencing high youth unemployment and the threat of al-Qaeda in the southern desert, and there have been fears over the president's ability to govern in light of his health problems.

313

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
Residents count the cost of violence after black American teenager shot dead by white Missouri police officer.
EU's poorest member state is struggling to cope with an influx of mostly war-weary Syrian refugees.
Study says tipping point reached as poachers kill 7 percent of African elephants annually; birth rate is 5 percent.
Zimbabwe's leader given rotating chairmanship of 15-member nation bloc a year after he won disputed presidential polls.
join our mailing list