Wednesday, 19 June 2019 09:29 GMT

Algeria's Bouteflika: highlights of a long presidency

(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Algiers: Key dates in the life of Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is due to resign by April 28 after facing weeks of protests over his bid for a fifth term.

- March 2, 1937: Born in the Moroccan city of Oujda to a family originally from the Algerian town of Tlemcen, west of Algiers.

Aged 19, Bouteflika joins the National Liberation Army, the military wing of the National Liberation Front fighting for independence from France.

- 1962-63: He becomes youth, sports and tourism minister in the first post-independence government under president Ahmed Ben Bella.

- 1963-79: Bouteflika is foreign minister under Ben Bella and the country's second president Houari Boumediene.

- 1981-87: Sidelined from politics, he lives in exile.

Elected president

- 1999: In April, Bouteflika is elected president after opponents withdraw, alleging foul play.

In September, Algerians overwhelmingly approve a referendum on his civil reconciliation programme, offering partial amnesty to armed Islamic extremists from the civil war that blighted most of the 1990s.

- 2004: Re-elected for a second term.

- 2005: Admitted to a French hospital for an operation on a "haemorrhagic ulcer in the stomach".

Al-Qaeda attacks

- 2007: Two near simultaneous attacks in April, including one targeting the Government Palace in Algiers, are claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

In September, Bouteflika's convoy is the target of a suicide attack and in December two other attacks, also claimed by AQIM, target UN offices and the Constitutional Council.

- 2009: Bouteflika wins a third term with 90 percent of the vote after changing the constitution to allow himself another five years in office.

- January 2011: Food riots erupt amid the regional upheaval of the Arab Spring and five people are killed and more than 800 injured. It pushes Bouteflika to announce political reforms in April but the opposition says the measures are insufficient.

Fourth term from wheelchair

- April-July 2013: Bouteflika spends almost three months in hospital in Paris after suffering a stroke. He will make several hospital stays in the future.

- 2014: He wins the presidential election a fourth time and takes the oath in a wheelchair.

- January 30, 2016: He tightens his grip on power by disbanding the DRS intelligence agency, considered by many a "state within a state". Its chief, the powerful Mohamed Mediene, had been already been fired months earlier.

Contested fifth term

- February 10, 2019: Bouteflika announces his bid for a fifth term in April elections, ending months of speculation.

- February 22: Tens of thousands of people demonstrate in several cities including Algiers, where protests have been banned since 2001, chanting "No fifth term".

The scale of the protests are followed by further demonstrations in the country as students, lawyers and other Algerians take to the streets to oppose his re-election bid.

- March 10: As protests continue, Bouteflika returns to Algeria after two weeks in hospital in Geneva for "routine medical checks".

- March 11: Bouteflika withdraws his bid for a fifth term and postpones the April 18 election. Interior minister Noureddine Bedoui is named prime minister and is tasked with forming a new government.

- March 26: Algeria's army chief calls on the 82-year-old leader to be declared unfit to govern. A day later key coalition ally the National Rally for Democracy (RND) headed by recently sacked prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia calls for his resignation.

- March 29: Huge rallies take place around the country. "We're fed up with those in power," the demonstrators chant. "We want a new government". Security sources say marches are held in Algiers and at least 44 of the country's 48 provinces.

- April 1: Bouteflika's office says he will resign before his mandate expires on April 28.


Algeria's Bouteflika: highlights of a long presidency


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