Algerians protest Bouteflika's bid for fifth term in office


Hundreds of Algerians on Saturday took to streets in northern Algeria to protest President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's intention to run for a fifth term in office.

Peaceful rallies were staged in some provinces of the North African country's northern Kabylie region. The protesters demanded that Bouteflika backtrack on his decision to run for president in the April 18 election.

They raised black-coloured flags and chanted slogans denouncing the political conditions in the country.

On Sunday, Bouteflika announced his intention to run for a fifth term in office, putting an end to months of uncertainty caused by his poor health. Bouteflika has promised that if re-elected, he will institute political, economic and social reforms.

The 81-year-old president, who has been in power since 1999, suffered a stroke in 2013. He is rarely seen in public.

In recent years, Algeria's finances have been hurt by the global drop in oil prices, prompting cuts in state subsidies.

Bouteflika is the only president in North Africa who was spared in the pro-democracy uprisings of the Arab Spring that started in neighbouring Tunisia in 2010.

At the time, his government contained pro-democracy protests with promises of reform and pay raises, financed by the country's revenues from oil and gas.    (dpa)

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