By Abdelrazek Abdallah
Algeria will hold presidential elections on April 18, according to a Friday statement released by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s office and carried by the official Algeria Press Service.
The announcement effectively ends speculation -- which had reached a fever pitch in recent weeks -- that the polls would be postponed.
It remains unclear, however, whether Bouteflika, 81, will take the controversial step of running for a fifth term in office or will be replaced by a successor.
Algerian opposition leaders, for their part, have repeatedly urged the aging head of state -- who in 2013 was treated for a blood clot in his brain -- to refrain from contesting the poll.