In Summary
  • Since returning home from Paris, he has chaired only two cabinet meetings
  • The 77-year-old incumbent, who secured landslide victories in the three previous elections, is too sick to take to the campaign trail, barely leaving home after a minor stroke confined him to hospital in Paris for three months last year.
  • In a very rare demonstration of its size, thousands of people took to the streets of Algiers last Friday, two days before the campaign opened, to call for a boycott of the April 17 election in protest at Bouteflika’s candidacy.

ALGIERS

With Algeria’s election campaign in full swing, ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is conspicuous by his absence but remains the firm favourite as high-profile allies criss-cross the country to make his controversial case.

The 77-year-old incumbent, who secured landslide victories in the three previous elections, is too sick to take to the campaign trail, barely leaving home after a minor stroke confined him to hospital in Paris for three months last year.

A frail-looking Bouteflika appeared on state television on March 3, his voice barely audible, to announce that he was seeking a fourth term despite concerns about his capacity to govern.

It was the first time he had spoken in public in two years. Since returning home from Paris, the president has chaired just two cabinet meetings and only rarely appeared in public.

PROTESTED BOUTEFLIKA'S CANDIDACY

In a very rare demonstration of its size, thousands of people took to the streets of Algiers last Friday, two days before the campaign opened, to call for a boycott of the April 17 election in protest at Bouteflika’s candidacy.

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