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Algerian PM hints at possible fifth run by Bouteflika

81-year-old Abdelaziz Bouteflika has ruled Algeria since 1999

Algerian PM hints at possible fifth run by Bouteflika

By Abdul Razak bin Abdullah


Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika may run for a fifth presidential term in polls slated for later this year, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia hinted Thursday.

“We urged [Bouteflika] in June to run for another term,” Ouyahia told reporters in capital Algiers.

“Today, we began to see the light of his candle in front of us and -- God willing -- this [a fifth presidential run] will be achieved,” he said.

Remarking on opposition calls for Bouteflika’s departure, the prime minister added: “It is for the people to decide, every five years, whether the president stays or goes.”

Bouteflika’s ruling National Liberation Front recently began collecting signatures in support of a fifth presidential run by the 81-year-old leader, who has ruled Algeria since 1999.

On Wednesday, the Interior Ministry announced that 172 people -- most of them largely unknown to the public -- had registered to contest the poll, which is slated for April 18.

Some of the better-known candidates have stated their intention to withdraw their candidacies in the event the aging Bouteflika decides to run.

One exception is retired army general Ali Ghadiri, who has said that he is “ready to compete” whether or not Bouteflika enters the race.

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