Algeria's Bouteflika to seek 5th term
ALGIERS - Algeria's ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is to seek a fifth term in April elections, the national news agency APS announced Sunday.
It said the 81-year-old head of state, in power since 1999, declared his candidacy in a message to the nation that would be released later.
According to APS, the president said he would set up an "inclusive national conference" to address "political, economic and social" issues and "propose an enrichment of the constitution".
A record number of candidates have expressed intent to run for president of Algeria in the country's April election.
In the two weeks since the electoral process was launched, 186 people have requested the documents needed to declare their candidacy. That's more than double the number of potential candidates at this stage in the last presidential election, in 2014.
Among Bouteflika's top challengers are former Prime Minister Ali Benflis, the runner-up in 2014 and today's main opposition candidate; influential retired Gen. Ali Ghediri; and the leader of an Islamist party, Abderazak Makri.
The heads of several small political parties from across the spectrum are also hoping to run — along with many Algerians who don't have the slightest links to politics.
To get on the ballot, candidates must gather 60,000 signatures of citizens or 6,000 signatures of elected officials, spread out over 25 of Algeria's 48 administrative departments.
Bouteflika won the 2014 election with 81 percent of the vote despite not appearing in his own campaign.
With AFP and AP