Bouteflika says, ‘won’t complete full-term if re-elected President in April polls’

Algiers: Algeria’s ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Sunday vowed that he would not serve a full term if re-elected as President for the fifth time in the upcoming elections scheduled to take place on April 18.

Bouteflika formally lodged his candidacy on Sunday.

Al Jazeera quoted Abdelaghani Zaalane, the campaign manager of President Bouteflika, who has been facing nearly two weeks of protests against his election bid, as saying that the incumbent President would call for early polls if he is re-elected in April elections.

“I have heard the pleas of protesters and especially the thousands of young people who asked about our nation’s future,” Zaalane was quoted while reading out a statement by the President’s Office on a local television network.

“I am committed to the organisation of an early presidential election,” the date of which will be decided by a “national conference” set up after the April 18 vote. “I pledge not to be a candidate for this election,” Bouteflika added to the statement, while also calling for a new revision of the constitution.

The announcement came after thousands of protesters took to streets on Friday, last day for the candidates to register their names for the April elections, objecting President Bouteflika’s bid to run for Presidential elections.

Numerous police helicopters hovered over the streets leading to the presidential headquarters, along with riot police deployed at the neighbourhood firing tear gas shells at the protestors gathered to display public discontentment regarding the leadership.

Pictures viral on the social media also showed protestors setting pictures of Bouteflika on fire amid whistles and cheers and calling for his resignation.

The Algerian law requires candidates to be medically fit to assume the presidency of the nation.
On January 18, President Bouteflika announced that the North African country would go for Presidential elections in April.

The 81-year-old incumbent president had last addressed the nation more than six years ago and has been sick since he suffered a stroke in 2013.