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.


Trump giving ‘new life’ to Daesh, former envoy says

Updated 5 min 16 sec ago
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Trump giving ‘new life’ to Daesh, former envoy says

  • McGurk warned a US withdrawal would shore up Assad and lessen America’s leverage with Russia and Iran
  • He said Trump’s decision to pull US troops from Syria was made without deliberation

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump’s decision to pull US troops from Syria was made without deliberation, left allies “bewildered” and has rejuvenated Daesh, the official formerly in charge of fighting the militants said Friday.
Brett McGurk, who quit as America’s envoy to the anti-Daesh coalition after Trump declared victory over the group last month, warned a US withdrawal would shore up President Bashar Assad and lessen America’s leverage with Russia and Iran.
And “the Islamic State and other extremist groups will fill the void opened by our departure, regenerating their capacity to threaten our friends in Europe — as they did throughout 2016 — and ultimately our own homeland,” McGurk wrote in an opinion piece in The Washington Post, referring to another name for Daesh.
McGurk, a Barack Obama-era appointee whom Trump kept on, said he was in the US embassy in Baghdad on December 17 when he got an urgent call from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informing him of Trump’s decision.
Two days later, Trump tweeted, “We have defeated Daesh in Syria,” referring to another acronym for Daesh.
“But that was not true, and we have continued to conduct airstrikes against the Islamic State,” McGurk said.
The decision came just days after National Security Adviser John Bolton had suggested an indefinite US troop presence in Syria, and as McGurk and then defense secretary Jim Mattis met coalition partners to confirm commitments for at least the next year.
“My counterparts in coalition capitals were bewildered,” McGurk said.
“The president’s decision to leave Syria was made without deliberation, consultation with allies or Congress, assessment of risk, or appreciation of facts.”
Mattis quit after Trump’s decision.
McGurk said Trump had made his decision after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had said Istanbul would lead the fight against Daesh remnants in Syria.
But Turkey has also vowed to take action against US-backed Syrian Kurds who have conducted the fight against Daesh and lost thousands of troops as they slowly wrested territory from the militants.
“The irony is that defeating the Islamic State is what the president said from the beginning was his goal,” McGurk said.
“His recent choices, unfortunately, are already giving the Islamic State — and other American adversaries — new life.”
Just one month after Trump declared victory over Daesh, the militants claimed responsibility for a brutal attack in Syria this week.
Four Americans, including two services personnel, were among those killed when a suicide bomber hit a restaurant in the key city of Manbij in Syria’s north — the deadliest attack against US forces since they first deployed in the war-torn nation four years ago.
The Pentagon on Friday identified three of those killed.
Among them was Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon Kent of New York. Her death marked the first time a female US service member was killed in Syria.

READ MORE: US names Americans killed in Manbij, Syria 'Daesh attack'