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If other people remain there forever, it will never be your turn

AILING Algerian President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika has declared his interest in seeking a fourth term in the upcoming election. Bouteflika did not reveal openly that he has been suffering the aftermath of a stroke for several months, which led to his referral to the French Military Hospital. He did not confide to his compatriots about his health condition, so he was probably scared of revealing the obvious to his compatriots. He went to France (the former colonial power) which reportedly killed millions of Algerians during the Independence War in the 1960s. Was Algeria not regarded as the nation of million martyrs?

The leadership requires sound physical and mental health. According to the news, Bouteflika will present a medical certificate from the French Military Hospital to prove that he is physically and mentally fit. The sudden decision taken by Bouteflika in such a health condition is surprising and confusing. I do not think Algeria lacks vibrant leaders, which has prompted his aides to force him to seek a fourth term in the next election with the notion that the country might be miserable if led by another person, not Bouteflika.

One of the presidential aspirants, former Algerian Naval Chief Mohammad Al-Taher Yo’ula, said the preparation for the election requires the current military apparatus to ensure continuity of the current regime, no matter what price the country will pay. This statement indicates the ‘Presidential Clique’ is determined to remain in control of the government after a series of major decisions taken by Bouteflika last autumn. He stripped the military intelligence, which opposes his bid to seek a fourth term, of some major prerogatives. Bouteflika also refused to nominate his successor (Middle East Newspaper, Feb 12, 2014).

Bouteflika and the Presidential Clique continue each day to affirm the Arabs’ love for the position of authority whatever the cost, while we cling to it even if we are at the point of death. We do not comply with the immortal wisdom laid down by one of our sheikhs in Al-Seif Palace, saying, “If others remain there forever, it will never be your turn, Bouteflika!”

By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil

By: Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

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