Ex-Algerian leader Bouteflika is dead

Bouteflika-with-his-aides- (1)

Bouteflika in his last days in office in 2019

Former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced out of office, has died at 84, the presidency said on Friday.

His death comes more than two years after he stepped down under pressure from mass protests and the army.

Though he was wheelchair bound and ill, he wanted a fifth term in office.

Street protests aborted the plan.

Bouteflika, a veteran of Algeria’s war for independence, ruled the North African country for two decades before his resignation in April 2019.

He had rarely been seen in public before his departure since a stroke in 2013.

His life story

Born in 1937 in Morocco to Algerian parents, Bouteflika joined the National Liberation Front in 1956, which was leading the fight against French colonial rule over Algeria.

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He became the administrative secretary of Houari Boumedienne.

Three years after Algeria achieved independence in 1962, he helped with Boumedienne’s coup d’etat against Ahmed Ben Bella and subsequently became Algeria’s foreign minister.

He served in that role until 1974, when he became President of the United Nations General Assembly.

After Boumedienne died in 1978, he was seen as one of two candidates likely to succeed him, but lost out to Chadli Bendjedid, an FLN colonel.

In 1989 he was reassigned to the FLN Central Committee.

He played little role in the civil war that began in 1992, but scored an unexpected victory in the 1999 presidential elections, the first since the civil war began.

He remained in that office for 20 years, until he was forced out in 2019.