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5 Retired Officers Seek to Succeed Algeria’s Bouteflika

5 Retired Officers Seek to Succeed Algeria’s Bouteflika

Wednesday, 23 January, 2019 - 07:00
City employees install Algerian flags and a poster of President Abdulaziz Bouteflika on the streets ahead of parliamentary elections in Algiers in 2017. (Reuters)
Algiers - Boualem Goumrassa
Five retired officers have expressed their readiness to run in the upcoming Algerian presidential elections to succeed President Abdulaziz Bouteflika, who has been in power for 20 years.

Tensions have been high between the ruling regime and retired officers over their rejection of Bouteflika’s running for a fifth term. The tensions had reached such an extent that Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah had at one point threatened to strip one candidate, retired General Ali Ghediri of his military rank.

The second military candidate is Ramadan Hamlat, who is renowned for his media interviews where he is introduced as a “security analyst.” He has been vocal about Algeria’s ties with its neighbors, specifically Mali and Libya.

He had announced his candidacy in September, unveiling a campaign that promises reform, security, freedom and prosperity in Algeria. He pledged to reform the government administration, mend ties with various social segments that have been harmed by the authorities’ poor practices and restore the role of civil societies.

The third retired officer to announce his intention to run in the upcoming April elections is Salim Latrash, who stated that Algeria possesses resources to meet the demands of 200 million people. Official estimates from 2016 put Algeria’s population at 41 million.

A former military doctor also announced his intention to run in the elections, while the fifth potential candidate will present his presidential program soon.

Ghediri has stoked tensions with the ruling regime earlier this month through an article in which he launched a scathing attack against Bouteflika, whom he blamed for the “state’s failures.” He had also called on Gaid Salah to assume his “historic responsibilities” to stop the deterioration of the state, which he says is represented in Bouteflika’s clinging to power.

The officer had announced Sunday that he is seeking to run for office, but has yet to present his platform.

Also on Sunday, former Prime Minister Ali Benflis declared his candidacy for the elections.

Bouteflika has meanwhile, not yet said whether he will seek reelection.

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