Algerian president, 82, wants to run for fifth term amidst protests



Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika has defied protesters by registering as a candidate in next month’s elections.

His campaign manager submitted election papers on behalf of the ailing president, who is undergoing medical treatment in Switzerland.

The manager said that if elected  Bouteflika would oversee a national dialogue leading to elections within a year in which he would not stand.

On Sunday there were new protests against his move to seek a fifth term.

Bouteflika, 82, has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.

The deadline to file election papers is midnight on Sunday (23:00 GMT). The electoral commission has said candidates need to submit them person, but the Constitutional Council ruled that he did not have to be physically present.

On Sunday protests were reported at several locations in Algiers and at major cities across the country. Police reportedly used water cannon to disperse students rallying in the capital Algiers.

Police have been guarding the offices of the Constitutional Council, in Algiers, where candidates submit their papers.

There have also been demonstrations in France, the former colonial power, which is home to a large Algerian community.

“We aren’t opposed to the president, but he is unconscious, he doesn’t exist anymore, his generals and those close to him are doing what they will behind his back,” one demonstrator told the AFP news agency.

Demonstrations broke out about 10 days ago after Bouteflika announced his plans to run for office again. On Friday 100,000 people took to the streets – the largest protest so far.

Young people have been at the forefront of the protests in Algeria

Some threw stones near the presidential palace and were driven back by police firing tear gas. Nearly 200 protesters and 56 police officers were injured, state media reported. One person died of a heart attack.

Demonstrations also took place following Friday prayers in several other cities in Algeria.


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