Algeria ends rally over president re-election

Demonstrators gather in the capital voicing out against Algeria's ailing president seeking a fourth term in office.

    Algerian police dispersed a demonstration in the capital staged by Algerians opposed to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's decision to run for a fourth term in elections next month.

    A group opposed to a fourth term for Bouteflika had called for the demonstration online, and those taking part on Saturday included journalists and rights activists.

    Protesters chanted "no to a fourth term" and "15 years is enough", an AFP journalist at the scene said.
    Bouteflika, who has been in power since 1999 and turns 77 on Sunday, announced a week ago he would seek reelection in an April 17 vote, after speculation his frail health would stop him from running.

    There has been growing concern about Bouteflika serving another term, given the physical state of the president, who was hospitalised in Paris for three months last year after suffering a mini stroke.

    He has chaired just two cabinet meetings since returning home in July, and has not spoken in public for nearly two years.years.

    Even so, he is expected to win the election with the backing of the powerful state apparatus.

    Calls for 'peaceful' change

    Former Algerian premier Mouloud Hamrouche on Thursday called for a "peaceful" change of the regime, which he said was no longer capable of running the country.

    And Said Sadi, former head of the secular opposition Rally for Culture and Democracy Party, also spoke out against Bouteflika on Tuesday.

    He urged Algerians to "delegitimise" the upcoming elections, urging a political transition similar to the one that took place last month in Tunisia.

    Several opposition parties have already called for a boycott of the election, saying its results would be a foregone conclusion.


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