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New term? Algerians hold anti-Bouteflika demo in Geneva

A photo of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from May 2017

A photo of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from May 2017

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Around 100 Algerians demonstrated in Geneva on Monday against Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika who is seeking re-election for a fifth term in April. The 82-year-old is reportedly staying at a Geneva hospital. 

The Tribune de Genève reported that a crowd of angry protestors had gathered outside the Palais Wilsonexternal link on the banks of Lake Geneva to denounce Bouteflika who has offered to run in elections next month but not to serve a full term if re-elected.

The protestors called on the president to step down and carried banners with slogans such as “Yes, for a new Algeria with good governance and no to a military regime”. 

In Algeria, tens of thousands of people have been protesting over the past two weeks against a further presidential term for Bouteflika, who is believed to be currently in Switzerland.

The Algerian authorities said last week he would travel to Geneva for unspecified "routine" medical checks. Algerian media did not report on his trip but Swiss public television, RTS, said late on Saturday that Bouteflika was at Geneva University Hospital (HUG). The hospital and Algerian authorities have refused to comment.

Opponents say Bouteflika, who suffered a stroke in 2013 and has been seen in public only a few times since, is no longer fit to lead the North African country. 

Bouteflika's campaign manager said on Sunday that the president would run in April elections, defying calls for him to quit at the end of his current term. 

The announcement read out by Abdelghani Zaalane on Bouteflika's behalf said the president pledged to organise a national conference to discuss reforms and then call early elections in which he would not run, with Ennahar TV saying that would be held within a year.

Tribune de Genève/sb

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