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Algerian president defies protesters, seeks re-election

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BBC


Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has defied protesters by registering as a candidate in next month’s elections.

His campaign manager submitted election papers on behalf of the ailing president, who is undergoing medical treatment in Switzerland.

The manager said that if elected Mr Bouteflika would oversee a national dialogue leading to elections within a year in which he would not stand.

On Sunday there were new protests against his move to seek a fifth term.

Mr Bouteflika, 82, has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.

The deadline to file election papers is midnight on Sunday (23:00 GMT). The electoral commission has said candidates need to submit them person, but the Constitutional Council ruled that he did not have to be physically present.

On Sunday protests were reported at several locations in Algiers and at major cities across the country. Police reportedly used water cannon to disperse students rallying in the capital Algiers.

Police have been guarding the offices of the Constitutional Council, in Algiers, where candidates submit their papers.

There have also been demonstrations in France, the former colonial power, which is home to a large Algerian community.

“We aren’t opposed to the president, but he is unconscious, he doesn’t exist anymore, his generals and those close to him are doing what they will behind his back,” one demonstrator told the AFP news agency.