Bouteflika's Decision To Run Reaffirms Core Views
BMI View: Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's decision to seek a fourth term in upcoming presidential elections reaffirms our view that the vote will bring continuity rather than change in the political system. Although we do not expect popular unrest in proximity of the vote, risks to stability are set to increase over the longer term.
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will seek a fourth term in presidential elections to be held in April, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal announced on February 22. Bouteflika, 76, is in ill health since suffering a stroke in April 2013, and has been rarely seen in public since. Sellal declared that, even though Bouteflika has not completely recovered physically, he is in possession of all his mental and intellectual faculties, and he does not need to run an election campaign as others can do it for him. Critics contend he is unable to run the country, and one opposition leader even called for Bouteflika to show his medical records before seeking office again.
That said, we believe that the current president will most likely win a fourth term, with several parties having rushed to support his nomination. In addition to the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN), other political blocs such as the National Rally for Democracy (RND) - the party with the second largest number of members in parliament - have advocated his re-election. On the other side, Algeria's opposition is deeply divided and fragmented. Although a number of personalities outside of the ruling elite have announced their intention to run in the upcoming vote, few are seen as serious candidates. Finally, several opposition parties such as Algeria's largest Islamist political bloc, the Movement of Society for Peace, and the liberal Rally for Culture and Democracy, announced that they will be boycotting April's elections citing fears of fraud.
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