Former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika dies at 84

Former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika dies at 84

Sept. 18 (UPI) — Former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika — who resigned amid mass protests in 2019 — has died after a long illness, state-run television reported. He was 84.

Local media reported his death Friday, but declined to reveal a cause of death The New York Times reported. CNN and BBC News confirmed the news.

Bouteflika, who ruled Algeria for 20 years, longer than any other leader in the country, had a stroke in 2013. He had been rarely seen in public after the medical event, and used a wheelchair.

He was a veteran of Algeria’s war of independence from France in the 1950s and 60s and became minister of foreign affairs in 1962, when he was in his mid-20s. He later became president, representing the National Liberation Front, at the conclusion of Algeria’s civil war in 1999.

Algerians took to the streets in protest of Bouteflika’s rule in February 2019, when he announced he would be running for a fifth term. He withdrew from the April 18 election, which was then indefinitely postponed.

He resigned April 2, 2019, about a month before the end of his fourth term.

Abdelkader Bensalah, chairman of the upper house of parliament and Bouteflika’s ally, took over the presidency until voters in December chose Abdelmadjid Tebboune of the National Liberation Front.

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