Algeria’s Bouteflika to seek re-election in 2019: party chief

ALGIERS: Algeria’s frail President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power since 1999, will stand for a fifth term at elections next year, the head of his party said Sunday.
National Liberation Front chief Djamel Ould Abbes said Bouteflika, who suffered a stroke in 2013, would be the party’s candidate at the vote set for April 2019, state news agency APS reported.
“Bouteflika… is the candidate of the FLN for the presidential election,” Ould Abbes was quoted as saying at a meeting with lawmakers 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 formalize the candidacy, Ould Abbes’ chief of staff Nadir Boulegroune told AFP.
Bouteflika, 81, has yet to announce his candidacy officially.
The veteran leader has been weak since suffering the 2013 stroke, which diminished his mobility and forced him to work from his residence in Zeralda, west of the capital Algiers.
He has since traveled abroad several times to undergo medical treatment in France and Switzerland.
The president only makes rare public appearances, during which he is usually seen sitting in a wheelchair.
Rumours often swirl in Algeria about the state of the president’s health.
But ahead of next year’s presidential poll, Bouteflika’s camp has for months been preparing the ground for him to claim a fresh term.

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