Algeria’s former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika dies at 84

Former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has died at 84, the presidency stated on Friday, greater than two years after he stepped down below strain from mass protests and the military.

Bouteflika, a veteran of Algeria’s battle for independence, had dominated the North African nation for twenty years earlier than his resignation in April 2019 after street demonstrations rejecting his plan to seek a fifth term. He had hardly ever been seen in public earlier than his departure since a stroke in 2013.

After Bouteflika’s resignation, in a bid to end the protests demanding political and economic reforms, authorities launched unprecedented investigations into corruption, resulting in the imprisonment of a number of senior officers, together with Bouteflika’s highly effective brother and advisor, Mentioned. Mentioned has been jailed for 15 years on prices together with plotting towards the state.

After Algeria’s independence from France in 1962, former president Bouteflika grew to become Algeria’s first international minister and an influential determine within the Non-Aligned Motion that gave a worldwide voice to Africa, Asia and Latin America.

As a president of the UN Normal Meeting, Bouteflika invited former Palestinian chief Yasser Arafat to handle the physique in 1974, a historic step towards worldwide recognition of the Palestinian trigger. He additionally demanded that China be given a seat within the United Nations, and railed towards apartheid rule in South Africa.

Palestinian chief Yasser Arafat (L) embraces his Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika after arriving within the Algerian capital on March 18, 2001. (Reuters)

He championed post-colonial states, challenged what he noticed because the hegemony of the USA and helped his nation right into a seed-bed of Nineteen Sixties idealism. He additionally welcomed Che Guevara, and a younger Nelson Mandela acquired his first coaching in Algeria. Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver, on the run from US.police, was given refuge.

Within the early Eighties, Bouteflika went into exile after the demise of ex-President Houari Boumediene and settled in Dubai, the place he grew to become an adviser to a member of the emirate’s ruling household. He returned dwelling within the Nineties when Algeria was being ravaged with a battle between the military and armed Islamist militants that killed at the least 200,000 individuals.

Elected president in 1999, he managed to barter a truce with Islamists and launched a nationwide reconciliation course of permitting the nation to revive peace.

Bouteflika joined the independence battle towards France on the age of 19 as a protege of commander Boumediene, who grew to become president in 1965. After independence, Bouteflika grew to become minister of youth andtourism on the age of 25. The next yr he was made international minister.

Little is thought about his non-public life, official data point out no spouse, although some accounts say a wedding occurred in 1990. For years Bouteflika lived together with his mom, Mansouriah, in an residence in Algiers, the place she used to arrange his meals.

Bouteflika had used oil and fuel revenues to assuage inside discontent, and the state he dominated grew to become extra peaceable and affluent, permitting it to sidestep, for some time, the “Arab Spring” unrest that toppled leaders throughout the area in 2011.

However corruption flourished and Algerians grew more and more offended on the political and financial torpor, fuelling the mass protests that lastly introduced Bouteflika’s presidency to an finish.

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