Abdelaziz Bouteflika Algeria’s former President dies at 84

abdelaziz bouteflika algeria's former president dies at 84
abdelaziz bouteflika algeria’s former president dies at 84

Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the former Algerian president who stepped down in 2010 following mass protests and military pressure, died at the age of 84, the presidency announced on Friday.

After street demonstrations against his bid to seek a fifth term, Bouteflika, a veteran of the Algerian war for independence, stepped down after more than two decades in power.

Before his departure, he had rarely been seen in public since having a stroke in 2013.

In response to Bouteflika’s resignation, authorities launched unprecedented investigations into corruption, leading to the imprisonment of several senior officials, including Said, Bouteflika’s powerful brother. Said was jailed for 15 years for charges including plotting against the state.

In 1962, Algeria gained its independence from France, and former president Bouteflika became the country’s first foreign minister and an influential member of the Non-Aligned Movement.

As president of the United Nations. Bouteflika invited Yasser Arafat to address the General Assembly in 1974, which was a historic step toward international recognition of the Palestinian cause.

Furthermore, he demanded that China be given a seat in the United Nations and denounced apartheid in South Africa.

His country became a seed-bed of 1960s idealism after he championed post-colonial states and challenged American hegemony.

Algeria is where Nelson Mandela first received training as a young man, along with Che Guevara. The United States government offered refuge to Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver who was on the run from the U.S. police.

Bouteflika went into exile in the early 1980s after the death of ex-President Houari Boumediene and settled in Dubai, where he served as an adviser to a member of the ruling family of the emirate.

In the 1990s, Algeria was ravaged by a war between the army and armed Islamist militants that left at least 200,000 people dead.

As president, he negotiated a truce with Islamists and launched a national reconciliation process that allowed the country to restore peace.

Boumediene, who became president in 1965, introduced Bouteflika to the independence war against France when he was just 19 years old.

Bouteflika was appointed minister of youth and tourism at the age of 25 after independence. He was appointed foreign minister the following year.

It is unknown what his private life was like; official records do not mention a wife, though some accounts claim a marriage took place in 1990. For years, Bouteflika lived with his mother, Mansouriah, in an apartment in Algiers, where she prepared his meals.

As a result of Bouteflika’s use of oil and gas revenues to soothe internal discontent, Algeria’s state became more peaceful and prosperous, allowing it to sidestep the Arab Spring unrest that toppled leaders in 2011 across the region.

However, corruption flourished and Algerians grew increasingly angry at the political and economic stalemate, which ultimately led to the mass protests that brought Bouteflika’s presidency to an end.

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