Algeria’s Bouteflika gets backing for fifth term presidential bid

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Algeria President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has received a firm backing of a key ally of the ruling party as he seeks a fifth straight term in polls slated for April 2019.

The National Rally for Democracy, known by its French initials RND, led by the Prime Minister Ahmed Ouhayia is allied to Bouteflika’s National Liberation Front, known by French initials FLN.

“For some, the future is in change for change’s sake. For us at the RND, the future is in continuity,” said Ouyahia, at the opening of his party’s national council.

Ouyahia, Bouteflika’s prime minister since 2003, said the past five years had laid the groundwork for a “promising future”.

In an interview with TSA Arabi, the Arabic version of a leading Algerian media outlet, RND spokesperson Seddik Chihab said Bouteflika would “probably” announce his decision in early February.

He also brushed aside concerns over the president’s health, saying it posed no obstacle to another term.

“We all know that President Bouteflika’s state of health isn’t the same as it was in previous elections, but since 2014, we have not noticed that his illness was an obstacle in fulfilling his constitutional prerogatives,” he said.

Presidential candidates have until March 3 at midnight (2300 GMT) to submit their application

President Bouteflika has been in power since 1999, uses a wheelchair and has rarely been seen in public since a stroke in 2013. The head of state has not yet confirmed whether he will seek a new mandate.