Algeria’s Bouteflika to seek re-election in 2019: party chief

Algeria’s frail President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power since 1999, will stand for a fifth term at elections next year. (File photo / AFP)
Updated 29 October 2018
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Algeria’s Bouteflika to seek re-election in 2019: party chief

ALGIERS: Algeria’s frail President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power since 1999, will stand for a fifth term at elections next year, the head of his party said Sunday.
National Liberation Front chief Djamel Ould Abbes said Bouteflika, who suffered a stroke in 2013, would be the party’s candidate at the vote set for April 2019, state news agency APS reported.
“Bouteflika... is the candidate of the FLN for the presidential election,” Ould Abbes was quoted as saying at a meeting with lawmakers from the party.
“His candidacy has been demanded by all the FLN cadres and activists across the country,” he said.
The FLN central committee will meet soon to formalize the candidacy, Ould Abbes’ chief of staff Nadir Boulegroune told AFP.
Bouteflika, 81, has yet to announce his candidacy officially.
The veteran leader has been weak since suffering the 2013 stroke, which diminished his mobility and forced him to work from his residence in Zeralda, west of the capital Algiers.
He has since traveled abroad several times to undergo medical treatment in France and Switzerland.
The president only makes rare public appearances, during which he is usually seen sitting in a wheelchair.
Rumours often swirl in Algeria about the state of the president’s health.
But ahead of next year’s presidential poll, Bouteflika’s camp has for months been preparing the ground for him to claim a fresh term.


Sudan’s army calls for unconditional talks with protesters

Updated 14 min 27 sec ago
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Sudan’s army calls for unconditional talks with protesters

  • Protest leaders have set conditions for a resumption of talks, including a withdrawal of the military and militias from cities
  • At least 128 people were killed across the country since security forces cleared the sit-in area outside the military’s headquarters

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s military council said talks on the transition of power should resume without preconditions, signaling a continued standoff with opposition leaders who launched nighttime demonstrations to push for civilian rule.
Protest leaders have set conditions for a resumption of talks, including a withdrawal of the military and militias from cities, the resumption of Internet service and an international investigation of the violent razing of their sit-in camp on June 3.
Transition talks collapsed over the military’s crackdown.
At least 128 people were killed across the country since security forces cleared the sit-in area outside the military’s headquarters. Authorities offer a lower death toll of 61, including three from security forces.
Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the council, told health workers in Khartoum on Wednesday that the council did not have preconditions for returning to the negotiating table with the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, which has represented protesters.
He said neither side should make up-front demands.
“I repeat our invitation to all political forces and the FDFC to come (for talks), and there is no need for preconditions,” he said. “We do not deny their role in the uprising and the popular revolution ..., but the solution should be satisfactory to all Sudanese factions.”
Protest leaders could not be reached immediately for comment.
On Saturday, the Sudanese Professionals’ Association said it would stick to its conditions for the resumption of talks.
Meanwhile, protest leaders launched nighttime protests this week.
Late Wednesday, about 300 protesters, mostly young people, marched in Khartoum’s western district of Abbasiya, waving Sudanese flags and calling for justice for those killed since the sit-in dispersal.
Protesters avoid daytime demonstrations for fear of being quashed by security forces heavily deployed in Khartoum.
The military council has rejected the idea of an international probe and said it had started its own investigation along with another one by prosecutors.
An Ethiopian initiative to resume talks apparently failed to make progress in the deadlock. A top general in the military council pushed back last week against a key demand from the protest leaders to have the majority in a transitional legislative body.
Burhan said that the country cannot remain without a government, more than three months after the military ousted autocratic President Omar Al-Bashir in April.
“We do not want that things (get) out of control,” Burhan said. “Another coup could be carried out because of the country’s impasse.”