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Africa Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika

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FLN anoints Bouteflika for fifth term as Algeria president

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has been in power in Algeria since 1999, has not yet decided if he will seek a fifth term. AFP/Eric Feferberg

Algeria's ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) said on Saturday it had picked President Abdelaziz Bouteflika as its candidate for April's election. Bouteflika has been in power since 1999 but has rarely been seen in public since a stroke in 2013.

The declaration came a week after the ruling coalition - comprised of the FLN and three other parties - backed 81-year-old Bouteflika for the poll on 18 April.

"The FLN has designated President Bouteflika as the party's candidate," said its coordinator Mouad Bouchareb on Saturday at a pre-campaign meeting in Algiers.

He has until 3 March to confirm whether he will run in the poll and seek a fifth term.

In the last presidential election in 2014, Bouteflika only declared his intention to run a few days ahead of the deadline.

Former general, Ali Ghediri, 64, was the first to announce his candidacy after the presidency set the election date.

Algeria's main Islamist party, the Movement for the Society of Peace, will also take part in the poll, backing its candidate Dr Abderrazak Makri.

The country's oldest opposition party, the Front of Socialist Forces, announced on January 25 that it would not field a candidate and has called for a peaceful boycott of the ballot.