“In response to all pleas and calls … I declare today my candidacy for the presidential elections,” said Bouteflika.
Rabat – In power since 1999, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is down for a fifth term as president after receiving support from his ruling party, the National Liberation Front (FLN).
On Saturday, the FLN coordinator, Mouad Bouchareb, said that FLN “designated President Bouteflika as the party’s candidate.”
On Sunday Bouteflika announced his determination to run for a fifth term.
He said that he agreed to run “in response to all pleas and calls.”
While some activists question Bouteflika’s decision, the Algerian president said that “the firm willpower to serve” his country has never left him.
“…It will enable me to overcome difficulties related to illness,” said Bouteflika, acknowledging that he is no “longer as physically strong as” he was before.
In response, some Algerian activists launched a campaign online against a fifth term.
Using the hashtag Let_Him_Rest or Khaliwh Yertah, activists are implying that Algerian elites pressured Bouteflika into running for a fifth term.
Online activists created a Facebook page under the same hashtag.
“A president who cannot carry out his duties towards the country and the people, a president who does not give speeches, does not sign decrees, does not appoint, does not isolate, does not make field visits, does not meet invitations, does not receive heads of state, a [president] who does not declare war and peace is an illegal president according to Article 102 of the Constitution,” read a post on the Facebook page.
The post added that Bouteflika “is a president who does not rule but [Algeria] ruled through him.”
Algerians and international analysts have criticized Bouteflika for being absent at international summits and for not receiving officials.
In December 2018, internet users mocked the president when his office announced that the president could not meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman because he had the flu.
Seizing the flu comment, some asked whether Bouteflika is capable of running for a fifth term.
Last year, former French Ambassador to Algeria Bernard Bajolet also questioned Bouteflika’s ability to lead, saying that the president is kept alive “artificially.”
In December again, the CEO of Cevital Algerie, Issad Rebrab, also criticized Bouteflika, saying that the president is not even “aware” of recent developments in the country
He argued there is an “invisible hand” governing Algeria.