The year 2019 is turning out to be the year of elections across Africa as many countries in the continent are scheduled to have their elections within the coming months.
Algeria has announced that the country will be going to polls on April 18 to elect a new president or re-elect the 81-year-old incumbent president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Bouteflika has been ruling the country since 1999. Before becoming president in 1999, he served as the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1963 to 1979.
Abdelaziz Bouteflika and other candidates have been given a 45-day ultimatum to declare interest for the position of presidency. If the current president decides to throw his hat in the race, he will be attempting to rule the country for the fifth consecutive term; but the question remains ‘should Bouteflika run for the presidency again?’
Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who also doubles as the minister of defense, has rarely appeared in public since suffering a stroke in 2013 which has left him on a wheelchair since then.
He last delivered a public address six years ago due to his frail health condition, but despite this, won the 2014 elections by clinching 87 percent of the votes without campaigning for the elections.
At a time when there have been increased calls for Africa to phase out its crop of aging leaders, would it be wise for the president to run for a fifth tenure especially considering his health and welfare of the nation?
Many observers believe that even if Bouteflika decides not to run for the April 18 election, someone from his party who is loyal to him will win the elections.
Other candidates expected to contest for the April 18 elections include Ahmed Ouyahia- a member of parliament, Abdelmalek Sellal - former member of parliament and the country’s Energy Minister, Chakib Khelil.
Some others have speculated that the country’s Vice Minister of Defense, Ahmed Gaid Salah, might become the next head of state; but only time will tell.
Header Image Credit: REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina