Algeria’s Former President Bouteflika Dies at 84

Algeria’s Former President Bouteflika Dies at 84 (News Central TV)

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.

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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

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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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