Algerian presidential candidate says fraud likely if Bouteflika runs again
Ahmed Benbitour told Al Arabiya that presidential elections will certainly be marred by fraud if incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika runs for a fourth term
Algerian presidential candidate Ahmed Benbitour told Al Arabiya that presidential elections will certainly be marred by fraud if incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika runs for a fourth term.
Benbitour said that the president’s deteriorating health prevents him from effectively managing the governance of the country, adding that if Bouteflika insists on running for another term, there will certainly be forgery in the election process.
However, he added that he respects Bouteflika as the country’s president, but said that Bouteflika must resign due to his ill health.
The presidential candidate also denied there are personal disputes between him and Bouteflika.
“Anyone who says there are [personal] disputes [between me] and Bouteflika is wrong. My disagreement with him was because he wanted to issue direct presidential orders to run the country’s affairs without going through the government and parliament. I met him for one hour after my resignation [as prime minister in 2000], and we talked about the issue and [put it behind us],” the presidential candidate said.
Benbitour also defended his decision to run for president, saying he believes “in peaceful struggle to alter authority.”
On statements describing him as the Islamists’ candidate, Benbitour said: “Islamists in Algeria are allowed to practice political work.” Benbitour however did not confirm his relation to them.
On whether he will threaten an Algerian Arab Spring, he said: “I don’t call for violence but all factors towards the explosion [of the situation] are present in Algeria.”
Benbitour also rejected some parties’ demand to postpone the elections and said “the problem is not the elections but in [the possibility of] forging them.”