ALGIERS- Algeria’s 76-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was on Saturday designated his party’s candidate in the 2014 presidential election, his National Liberation Front (FLN) said.
Bouteflika, in power since 1999, had been largely unseen for months because of health problems before he presided over a cabinet meeting on September 29 for the first time this year.
Since 2005 he has been honorary president of the FLN, which has 208 seats in the 462-seat national assembly.
“The central committee has chosen the president of the party, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to be the FLN candidate in the next presidential election,” said a party statement issued after a meeting in the capital.
“The choice was a natural one given the positive assessment” of his three terms as Algerian head of state, FLN head Amar Saidani said in a speech at Saturday’s meeting.
Bouteflika returned home in July after nearly three months in France recovering from a mini-stroke, and critics have said his health concerns should rule out extending his time in office.
But the president’s allies had indicated they would back him should he seek re-election next year.
One of the few remaining veterans of the war of independence against France, Bouteflika came to power after helping to end the country’s civil war in the 1990s.
But in addition to health concerns in recent years, his rule has also been dogged by corruption scandals implicating members of his inner circle.