Sunday, March 23, 2014

Election campaign in Algeria starts without the main candidate

Cartoon in the newspaper Al-Watan: Someone look into the poster under the banner ''Vote Bouteflika'', and shouts: ''Uhuu, anybody there?'' 

Campaigning for Algeria's election opened on Sunday with the man expected to win, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, starting his race not with a speech or a mass rally, but with a letter.
With questions lingering about the state of his health after a stroke last year, Bouteflika, 77, began his campaign writing to Algerians to say his condition would not stop him extending his 15 years governing the North African state.
The critical socialist newspaper Al-Watan wrote, that among the six candidates, Abdelaziz Bouteflika was the only one who did not speak a word to the people he wants to vote for him. The only time he spoke some words - which were inaudible - was at the office of the president of the Constitutional Council, Mourad Medelci, when he posted his candidacy. 
''Many months already the outgoing president hasn't said a word,'' the paper wrote. ''And the reasons are known to all. Already handicapped by an illness that impeded him to execute his function as president in 2005, the candidate for the presidency was severely affected by a stroke of which he visibly did not completely recover.''
 But he is  nevertheless the main candidate as he has the strong backing of the main party, the FLN. For the campaign he can count on Abdelmalek Sellal, who quit his post as p[rime minister in order to become the director of Bouteflika's campaign. And Bouteflika can also count, writes Al-Watan, on the services of (former prime minister) Ahmed Ouyahya and party official Abdelaziz Belkhadem. ''It is a first,'' Al-Watan writes, ''a candidacy for the presidency of the republic by proxy.''

No comments: