Published: Tue, March 12, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Plane believed to be carrying Algerian president leaves Geneva

Plane believed to be carrying Algerian president leaves Geneva

While the president promised to present his reshuffled cabinet soon, he has already presented a new prime minister, Noureddine Bedoui, the former interior minister, and a deputy prime minister, Ramtane Lamamra, who will also serve as foreign minister.

The Gulfstream executive jet, which had taken Bouteflika to Geneva on February 24, touched down in Geneva earlier on Sunday.

Algeria's ageing president returned home yesterday after a fortnight in a Swiss hospital to face escalating protests over his plan to stand for a fifth term next month.

The arrival of the 82-year-old Bouteflika comes amid massive demonstrations demanding he withdraw his candidacy for a fifth term as president of the North African country.

Bouteflika, who rarely has been seen in public since he suffered a stroke in 2013, arrived at a military airport near Boufarik, about 20 miles south of Algiers, and was shown by private television station Ennahar in a fast-moving convoy heading toward the suburb of Zeralda where he lives.

In the clearest indication yet that the generals sympathise with them, the chief of staff said the military and the people had a united vision of the future, state TV reported.

In response to the demonstrations, the National Liberation Front - the top Algerian party backing Bouteflika - said it was ready to work with all parties to end the crisis "with the least cost to the country".

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The protesters have rejected his offer to limit his term if he wins the vote.

Demonstrations against his bid for another fifth term in office have brought tens of thousands of protesters onto Algeria's streets.

Many shops in Algiers were closed and residents said train services had been suspended.

"The entire world, and all of Algeria knows that he is no longer of this world", he told reporters, charging that powerful players in Algeria had an interest in maintaining the illusion that Bouteflika was alive to keep their grip on power in the country.

Older Algerians haunted by the civil war in the 1990s tolerated crackdowns on dissent in exchange for stability, giving the government some breathing space.

He says he plans to appoint a new government and a separate "national conference" tasked with rescheduling the election and drafting a new constitution.

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