June 21, 2018 / 6:04 PM / 25 days ago

Algerian prime minister urges Bouteflika to seek fifth term

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria’s Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia has urged 81-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run for a fifth term in 2019 ending speculation that he might himself be interested in the job.

FILE PHOTO: Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is seen in Algiers, Algeria April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina/File Photo

“We will call on the president to pursue his mission as the head of the state,” Ouyahia told senior members of his RND (National Rally for Democracy) party, which is allied to Bouteflika.

“It is a choice for Algeria’s security and stability,” Ouyahia said in a statement issued by RND on Thursday.

The FLN (National Liberation Front) party, which rules Algeria in coalition with the RND, trade unions and civil society organizations have all urged Bouteflika to seek another five-year term despite uncertainties over his health.

Bouteflika, who has been wheelchair-bound since a stroke in 2013, has not yet announced that he will run again. He has rarely appeared in public since 2013.

A fragmented and divided opposition is unable to mount a serious challenge to Bouteflika’s fifth term if he decides to run, analysts say.

Bouteflika took office in 1999. His fourth term will end by the first half of 2019 when elections are expected.

Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; Editing by Ulf Laessing and Alexandra Hudson

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