Algeria’s ailing president has announced that he will seek a fifth five-year term in April’s election in the gas-rich North African nation.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika made the announcement via Algeria’s official APS news agency on Sunday.
He has faced questions over whether he is fit enough to remain in office after two decades in charge.
The 82-year-old leader suffered a stroke in 2013 and has only been seen in public a few times a year throughout his fourth term.
His top challengers are former Prime Minister Ali Benflis, the runner-up in the 2014 election; influential retired Gen. Ali Ghediri; and the leader of a moderate Islamist party, Abderazak Makri.
A record number of candidates want to run for Algerian president in April’s election, amid growing uncertainty about whether ailing incumbent Abdelaziz Bouteflika is fit for a fifth term.
A total of 186 people have requested documents to declare their candidacy since the electoral process began last month. That’s more than double the number of potential candidates at this stage in the last vote in 2014.
Most won’t get the signatures necessary to appear on the April 18 ballot. But the multitude of potential candidates suggests frustration with the status quo and Algeria’s political structure.
The 82-year-old Bouteflika, who has led Algeria for 20 years, is expected to announce his candidacy soon despite the fact that a 2013 stroke left him speaking and moving with difficulty. He is rarely seen in public.