President of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika has made his intentions known that he will be running for office for a fifth term in April elections, this was contained in a message published by state media after he was endorsed by his party and the ruling coalition.
The 81-year-old head of state uses a wheelchair and has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.
“Of course, I am no longer the same physical force as before — something that I have never hidden from the people,” said Bouteflika, according to the APS news agency, as he apparently broke his silence on his intentions for the April 18 poll.
“But the unwavering desire to serve… has never left me and it allows me to transcend the constraints linked to health troubles which everyone may one day face,” the president reportedly added.
Bouteflika gained respect of the citizens after he ended Algeria’s decade-long civil war, which official figures say killed nearly 200,000 people.
He took advantage of the rise of the oil prices between 2004 and 2014 to launch vast infrastructure programmes and pull Algeria out of debt.
But the country’s hydrocarbon-dependent economy was hit hard by a drop in crude prices during the president’s fourth term, and now nearly a third of Algerians under 25 are unemployed.
Bouteflika has also faced criticism from rights groups and opponents who accuse him of being authoritarian.