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Former Algerian PM Announces Run for Presidency

Former Algerian PM Announces Run for Presidency

Monday, 21 January, 2019 - 06:30
Former Algerian Prime Minister Ali Benflis announces his run for the presidency. (Reuters)
Algiers - Boualem Goumrassa
Former Algerian Prime Minister Ali Benflis announced Sunday that he will run for the upcoming presidential elections.

He sent a letter to the Interior Ministry with his intention, saying a final decision over his candidacy will be made after holding a meeting with his Talaie El Houriat party (Vanguard of Freedoms).

Benflis, 74, had run for elections twice before, once in 2004, with the support of former Chief of Staff Mohamed Lamari, and in 2014. He was defeated in both runs by current President Abdulaziz Bouteflika.

Benflis had served in 1999 as Bouteflika’s presidential campaign manager and was named prime minister in 2000. He quit in 2003 after a dispute with the president when he announced his intention to run in the 2004 elections.

Bouteflika, who has yet to say whether he will seek a fifth term, has announced the election for April 18.

Benflis became the second official candidate after retired General Ali Ghediri said Saturday he would run for president. Other potential candidates have until March 4 to register with the constitutional court.

Ghediri had stirred controversy in recent weeks over a memo he had sent to the media in which he called on the military institution to bar Bouteflika from submitting his candidacy for president should he choose to run for another term.

Ghediri had come under fierce criticism from regime strongman Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah, who threatened to strip him of his military rank.

In his memo, Ghediri called for boycotting the current regime, blaming it for the “ills of society” that have prompted the immigration of the youth and deprived the people of a decent living.

“Should we seek to move forward, then boycott is our only choice. It is an existential matter for the nation and we must renew our vow with the 1954 revolutionists in order to save Algeria,” he declared.

“The values of this revolution will be the basis for the second republic, which we hope will meet the aspiration of the people,” he stressed.

Ghediri’s run for the presidency has enjoyed the backing of prominent rights lawyer Mokrane Ait Larbi.

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