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Ghediri, Makri Determined to Run in Algeria Presidential Elections

Ghediri, Makri Determined to Run in Algeria Presidential Elections

Tuesday, 12 February, 2019 - 08:15
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. (AFP)
Algiers - Boualem Goumrassa
Algerian President Abdulaziz Bouteflika’s announcement Sunday that he intends to run for a fifth term in office has not affected the determination of opposition figures, retired general Ali Ghediri and Dr. Abderrazak Makri, of the Movement for the Society of Peace, to compete against him.

The move did, however, lead Nasser Boudiaf, the son of late President Mohamed Boudiaf, to announce his withdrawal from the race.

A source from Ghediri’s camp told Asharq Al-Awsat that “we are not concerned with Bouteflika’s candidacy and we will continue to prepare our electoral campaign regardless of what he says.”

He made his remark in reference to political and media assertions that Bouteflika will emerge victorious in the April 18 presidential polls.

Ghediri’s campaign manager Muqrin Ait al-Arabi urged on Monday “unity to prevent a fifth term.”

Ghediri had stirred controversy in recent months 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.

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

The tensions between the two officials reached a peak last week when Ghediri was barred from attending the funeral of former Deputy Defense Minister Abdelmalek Guenaizia. The order to bar him from attending the funeral was ordered by Gaid Salah, who apparently refuses to appear at the same event as the retired general.

Meanwhile, the Movement for the Society of Peace said in a statement Monday that Bouteflika “may have not taken the decision to run in the elections.”

It called on opposition candidates to assess the electoral situation in Algeria and hold consultations on how to counter the dangers that threaten the upcoming polls.

Addressing the pledges of “deep reforms” mentioned in Bouteflika’s electoral announcement, the movement said similar one-sided vows were made in 2011 at a time when the Arab world was witnessing tumultuous protests.

The reforms were never really implemented, it noted.

Another presidential candidate, former Prime Minister Ali Benflis remarked that Bouteflika’s party took an “irresponsible” decision by running in the elections. He said that the move “would drown the country more and more in its political, economic and social crisis.”

A fifth term means that unconstitutional powers will continue to run the country in positions they have usurped and in speaking on behalf of the president, he added.

Benflis acknowledged, however, that Bouteflika will likely emerge victorious in the elections. He did not specify whether he will withdraw his candidacy from the race.

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