The Algerian presidency said on Friday, that the longest-serving Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has died at 84, more than two years after he stepped down under pressure from nationwide protests.
Bouteflika, a veteran of Algeria’s war for independence, ruled for two decades before his forced resignation in April 2019 after street protests rejected his plan to seek a fifth term.
Authorities launched unprecedented investigations into corruption after Bouteflika’s resignation, in a bid to end the protests demanding political and economic reforms. This led to the imprisonment of several senior officials, including Bouteflika’s powerful brother and adviser, Said Bouteflika.
Bouteflika is considered a national hero by his supporters, having fought on the battlefield during Algeria’s war for independence from France.
After Algeria’s independence from France in 1962, former President Bouteflika became Algeria’s first foreign minister and an influential figure in the Non-Aligned Movement.
As a president of the UN General Assembly, Bouteflika requested former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to address the body in 1974, a historic step towards international recognition of the Palestinian cause.
He also demanded that China be given a seat at the United Nations, and protested against apartheid rule in South Africa.
He was accused of corruption in the 1980s, he went into a self-imposed exile after the death of ex-President Houari Boumediene. He settled in Dubai, where he became an adviser to a member of the emirate’s ruling family
He returned home in the 1990s after charges of corruption against him were dropped.
At the time, the country was devastated by a war between the army and armed groups that claimed at least 200,000 lives. He won an election with the backing of the military.
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