A leader in the National Liberation Front — the majority party in Algeria — has launched a nationwide campaign on the pages of local newspapers calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run for a fourth term. The campaign owner, deputy head of the parliamentary bloc of the party, said that “neither the pledge between the people and the president nor the auspicious journey that began in 1999 is over.”
In the framework of a "dull" race for local elections scheduled for tomorrow [Nov. 29], MP Taliba Bahaa Eddin published his call in the most important pages of major Algerian newspapers "on behalf of the head of the Parliamentary Group of the National Liberation Front" Taher Khawa, he said.
"We are with Secretary-General Abdelaziz Belkhadem and we call on the struggler and fighter Abdelaziz Bouteflika to continue his second jihadist journey,” he said.
The campaign calls on the president to run for a "new term for a handover of powers between generations, as no one is more capable than him of overseeing the process of handing the torch to the youth and the new generations,” he said.
The "fourth term" campaign initiated by the Liberation Front MP is believed to be the beginning of a major campaign that may be led by mass organizations still waiting for the "zero hour.”
For his part, Bouteflika is refusing to talk about whether or not he is going to run in the spring 2014 presidential elections. According to some observers, Bouteflika will not run based on what he said in several paragraphs of a speech he gave before the legislative elections: "the era of our generation is over."
Others, however, establish a link between the postponement of the constitution amendment until next year and his potential candidacy, as happened before the third mandate.
Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Ali Benflis is starting to appear among the presumed contestants in the upcoming presidential elections. Moreover, Benflis supporters have begun a campaign on social networking sites in support of his candidacy. Benflis, however, is still committed to silence ever since his loss in the presidential elections of 2004, which gave rise to the biggest polarization in the history of independent Algeria.
Nevertheless, talk about the presidential elections at this time finds criticism in the ranks of the authorities in the absence of clear indications to the start of the race. The few clear indications are that the scene will be divided into two camps; one seeking to use the Bouteflika legacy as a base for its work, and another one seeking a clear break with the "legacy" of the president.
Some observers have offered names of some candidates, including former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia.
Meanwhile, the Front for the Protection of Democracy, made up of parties opposed to the last legislative results, tends toward the nomination of former Prime Minister Ahmed Benbitour. Other names are also included in the race, including former Prime Minister Mouloud Hamrouche, Abdelaziz Belkhadem and Minister Amar Ghoul, described as "a moderate Muslim.”
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