Three well-known public figures including a former top army commander have called Algerians to unite and withstand President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s intention to run for 2019 elections despite “his inability to run the country’s affairs”.
For Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi, a former foreign minister and presidential candidate in 1999, Ali Yahia Abdenour, a lawyer and former minister and Rachid Benyelles, a retired army general and former commander of the Algerian navy, the 80-year old president is seriously handicapped and cannot run the North African country, which is facing an acute economic downturn.
The three figures have written a letter in which they have urged the entire nation to express their outcry and say ‘it is enough’.
For the signatories, who believe that Boutelika is hostage of a system, the army should also stand aside the political game and back the want for change.
The authors of the letter published in local media argued that a group of people; the family entourage of the President; and a ring of powerful oligarchs have seized the country and its assets for their own benefits.
The trio also stated that if it were in a democratic country, Bouteflika would have stepped down in the highest interest of the nation or removed through a constitutional procedure.
Bouteflika came to power in 1999 but suffered a stroke in 2013, which significantly affected his mobility and vocal abilities. Despite his serious health condition, he won the 2014 elections amidst calls for him to step down.
Since his stroke, he has made rare public appearances and failed to receive world dignitaries and officials visiting Algeria.