Algeria – (Reuters)
The Algerian presidency said on Friday that former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had died at the age of 84, more than two years after he resigned under pressure from mass protests and the army.
Bouteflika ruled Algeria for 20 years before resigning in April 2019, after street demonstrations rejected his plan to run for a fifth term.
Bouteflika was rarely seen in public before resigning since suffering a stroke in 2013. Bouteflika was a veteran of Algeria’s war of independence.
After Bouteflika resigned, in an attempt to end protests demanding political and economic reforms. Former President Bouteflika became Algeria’s first foreign minister and an influential figure in the non-aligned movement following Algeria’s independence from France in 1962.
As president of the UN General Assembly, Bouteflika called on the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to address the assembly in 1974 in a historic step towards international recognition of the Palestinian cause. He also demanded that China be given a place in the UN, and criticized the apartheid rule in South Africa.
Bouteflika defended postcolonial states and challenged what he saw as American hegemony. He also received Che Guevara, and the young Nelson Mandela received his first training in Algeria. Bouteflika was elected President of Algeria in 1999 and presented a national reconciliation process that enabled the country to restore peace.
Bouteflika joined the War of Independence against France at the age of nineteen under the auspices of Commander Boumediene, who became president in 1965. After independence, Bouteflika became Minister of Youth and Tourism at the age of twenty-five. The following year, he was appointed Secretary of State.
Nothing is known about his privacy and official records do not indicate the existence of a wife, although some reports say he married in 1990. Bouteflika lived for years with his mother, Mansouria, in an apartment in Algiers, where she used to prepare his meals.