Despite Bouteflika being confined to a wheelchair and hardly able to function, the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) has pushed the president forward for a fifth term.
Outrage has been waged in Algeria following President Abdelaziz Bouteflika running for re-election in the upcoming presidential election campaign.
Despite the 81-year-old being confined to a wheelchair and hardly able to function, the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) has pushed Bouteflika forward for a fifth term in office.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators in cities across the country took to the streets on Friday to make their frustrations known about the decision.
According to Al Jazeera, protestors were chanting slogans opposed to the president and his brother Said, whom many suspect has been running the country from behind the scenes. They demand Bouteflika withdraw his candidacy for president and retire.
This is not the first time the president’s candidacy has been called into question. Despite suffering a debilitating stroke in 2013, President Bouteflika was re-elected for a fourth term in office in 2014.
The controversy comes amid growing tensions in the region. The unravelling chaos in neighboring Libya, as well as Syria, is an important issue with the Algerian state sitting close by.
In his first statement since the protests broke out, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said Algerians would have the final say on who their next president would be at the April 18th elections.
“Everyone has the right to support their candidate and be against any other candidate, the ballot box will decide in a peaceful and civilised way,” he said in a televised address from parliament on Monday.
Soufiane Djilali, president of the opposition Jil Jadid party, said many Algerians did not believe in the fifth term, and for good reason, they thought it was pure folly. “The president cannot talk, can’t move, cannot run the country and everybody understood that hidden forces were using the president’s image,” he said.