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I never wanted 5th term: Algeria’s wheel-chair bound 82-year-old president Bouteflika changes mind after protests

Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced he will not seek a fifth term in a press statement on Monday, March 11 after national protests calling for him to resign.

The 82-year-old Bouteflika came to power in 1999 but has been wheelchair-bound since he suffered a stroke in 2013. He returned from a two-week medical visit in Switzerland on Sunday.

Pressure has been mounting on Bouteflika to abandon his fifth term bid since protests started in the capital Algiers on February 22 and spread nationwide.

Subsequently, 1 000 judges pledged to refuse to oversee the April 18 general elections if he remained a candidate and military chief Lt Gen Gaed Salah voiced support for protesters.

Abdelaziz Bouteflika press statement

“There will be no fifth term,” Mr Bouteflika said in a statement. “There was never any question of it for me. Given my state of health and age, my last duty towards the Algerian people was always contributing to the foundation of a new Republic.”

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