April 1999 to April 2019: highlights of Bouteflika’s presidency in Algeria

0
109

AFPA

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned on Tuesday, succumbing to six weeks of largely peaceful mass protests driven by youth and pressure from the powerful army against his 20-year rule.

82-year-old Bouteflika had withered several storms including a civil war, the 2011 Arab Spring and a nearly fatal stroke in 2013.

This article looks at highlights of his time at the helm of Algeria’s politics

Algeria had been battered since 1992 by a civil war prompted by the sudden cancellation of elections the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) was poised to win.

  • April 15, 1999: Backed by the army, he wins presidential elections after all six of his rivals withdraw, alleging rampant fraud.
  • September 16, 1999: Algerians overwhelmingly approve a referendum on Bouteflika’s civil reconciliation programme which offers partial amnesty to Islamic extremists involved in the conflict, in which 200,000 people died.
  • April 9, 2009: After changing the constitution to allow himself another five years in office following two mandates, he wins a third term with 90 percent of the votes.
  • 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.
  • April-July 2013: Bouteflika spends almost three months in hospital in Paris after suffering a mini-stroke. He will make several hospital stays in Europe in the future.
  • April 17, 2014: He is elected for a fourth term with 81.5 percent of the vote, despite not campaigning and voting from 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.
  • February 2, 2019: The four parties in the ruling coalition give their official support to a candidacy by Bouteflika at the presidential election he has called for April 18.
  • February 10, 2019: The official news agency APS says that Bouteflika, 81, is to seek a fifth term.
  • March 11, 2019: Bouteflika withdraws his candidacy and postpones the April 18 presidential elections, following weeks of protests.
  • March 26, 2019: The army’s powerful chief of staff, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah calls on the country’s constitutional council to rule whether the president was fit for office.
  • April 01, 2019: State news agency, APS says Bouteflika would leave before his term ended on April 28.
  • April 02, 2019: Bouteflika resigns, explaining that he is ‘keen to put an end to the current bickering