Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria‘s frail 81-year-old president who has been in power since 1999, will stand for a fifth consecutive term in elections next year, according to the head of his party.
National Liberation Front chief Djamel Ould Abbes said Bouteflika, who has been confined to a wheelchair since suffering a stroke in 2013, will be the party’s candidate in the vote set for April 2019, state news agency APS reported on Sunday.
“Bouteflika… is the candidate of the FLN for the presidential election,” Ould Abbes was quoted as saying at a meeting with legislators from the party.
“His candidacy has been demanded by all the FLN cadres and activists across the country,” he said.
The FLN central committee will meet soon to formalise the candidacy, Ould Abbes’ chief of staff Nadir Boulegroune told AFP news agency.
The president, who last addressed the nation more than six years ago, has yet to officially announce his candidacy.
If he wins, he will be 87 by the time Algeria’s following elections are held.
More than 40 percent of Algeria’s 41 million population is under 25 and many of them know no leader other than Bouteflika.
Many Algerians have chosen peace and stability over political reform, pointing at the devastation in neighbouring Libya as a result of the country’s revolution and political turmoil.
In 2014, in light of the president’s failing health, the military thought it unwise for Bouteflika to run for a fourth term.
However, in a rare moment of indecision, the army is believed to have conceded to the ailing president’s demands, deeming it necessary to preserve stability in times of uncertainty.