October 20, 2021, 1:55 am
International Desk :
Former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has died at the age of 84 after a long illness.
The Algerian president’s office confirmed the news of his death on Friday, Reuters reported.
Boteflica, who ruled the North African country for two decades in a row, resigned in 2019. Although he expressed his desire to run for the presidency for a fifth term, he was forced to step down in the face of a popular uprising that year.
He has rarely been seen in public since having a stroke in 2013.
Bouteflika, who played a key role in the Algerian war of independence, began his political career at an early age. In the mid-twenties, he became the world’s youngest foreign minister; This record is still intact.
He has served as Foreign Minister for 16 years; He was also active in various activities of the United Nations.
In 1974, while chairing the General Assembly, he invited Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to address the United Nations, and he also took a strong stand against apartheid in South Africa.
Boteflica was also credited with giving Nelson Mandela his first military training.
He fled the country in the 1980s after allegations of corruption surfaced against him, and later returned when the allegations were dropped.
Boteflica won the 1999 election and became president after a bloody civil war; In that position he was for the next two decades.
To consolidate his power, he amended the constitution in 2008 to remove the two-term president.
As the Arab Spring began across North Africa in 2011, Bouteflika won the hearts of the public by increasing public subsidies and lifting the long-running state of emergency in Algeria.
He was last seen in public at the opening of a metro station and a renovated mosque in 2017, four years after the stroke. Everyone assumed that his younger brother Saeed Boteflikai was running the country from behind the scenes.
Protests erupted across Algeria when Bouteflika announced his candidacy for a fifth term despite being ill. One program after another created tumultuous unrest across the country.
In response, Bouteflika initially announced the postponement of the election, but was eventually forced to resign under military pressure.