The former President of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has died after suffering a long illness. He died at the age of 84. Bouteflika has led the country for around two decades. He stepped down in 2019 after his bid for a fifth term in office. It has led to a massive round of protests on the street.
He played a key role in the war of independence in Algeria in the 1950s and 60s. Then in 1999, the country emerged from a brutal civil war. It has killed at least 200000 people. After that, he became President at the urge of the military. Bouteflika has rarely made any public appearance since a stroke in 2013. It has affected his mobility and speech.
His early political career started in 1962. After that, he became the youngest minister in the world in the field of foreign affairs in his mid-twenties. It is a record that he still owns. He had become an active member of the UN. As the President of the general assembly in 1974, he invited the leader of Palestine, Yasser Arafat, for the purpose of addressing the UN governing body. It was a groundbreaking move.
He has insisted China should have a UN seat. Also, he stood against apartheid, South Africa. Bouteflika spent part of the 1980s in exile to avoid corruption charges. He returned home in the 1990s. Also, he took office in 1999 and became the first civilian leader in Algeria.
He is known as the “Boutef.” He has managed to break the peace between the army and Islamist militants who are involved in fighting for civil war. In 2008 he further initiated a change in the constitution of Algeria. It has removed two-term limitations for presidents.
During 2011’s Arab Sporting protest, he softly increased the subsidies of the public and further ended the long-standing state of emergency in Algeria.
He made his final appearance in 2017 after four years of stroke. He inaugurated a metro station, and then he renovated the Ketchaoua Mosque in Algiers.
When the announcement came that the ailing President would run for a 5th term in 2019, protests took place in the country. After the initial vows to postpone the elections, Bouteflika got the force to resign. It was the last time when most Algerians saw their 20-year President.