Saturday 21 April 2018

Former Algerian FM says Bouteflika unfit for office

Former Algerian FM says Bouteflika unfit for office
(AFP 10/09/17)

Three Algerian public figures including a former foreign minister said Sunday that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika "is no longer able to lead" and should be barred from seeking a fifth term.

Bouteflika, who is 80 and has held office since 1999, won a fourth term in a 2014 election despite having suffered a mini-stroke the previous year that affected his speech and mobility.

He has since used a wheelchair during his rare appearances in public.

Members of his team have publicly suggested that he may run for a fifth term in 2019 elections.

In a joint statement Sunday, former foreign minister Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi, lawyer and rights activist Ali Yahia Abdenour and retired navy chief Rachid Benyelles said Bouteflika should be blocked from doing so.

"The current head of state, very heavily handicapped, is manifestly no longer able to continue to lead the country," they said.

They accused "those who really hold power -- namely the president's family circle and a group of powerful oligarchs" -- of preparing as candidate "an old man who is impotent and unable to express himself".

Their statement followed numerous calls over recent weeks by opposition figures, intellectuals and academics for Bouteflika to be dismissed.

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