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Pressure mounts on Algeria’s ailing Bouteflika as Lawyers protest

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The North African country has been rocked by massive demonstrations against the 82-year-old president since he announced in February his intention to run for a new term.

Bouteflika has been in power since 1999.

Clad in black robes, the lawyers gathered outside the Constitutional Council, a commission in charge of handling potential contenders’ candidacy for the April 18, presidential polls.

“The protest aims at backing the popular movement of the Algerians, rejecting Bouteflika’s run for a fifth term,’’ Tarek Marah, a member of the Algerian Bar Association, told dpa.

“The protesters have called for rejecting Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term, postponing the presidential elections and installing an interim government of independent technocrats to run the country,” he added.

Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013 and is rarely seen in public.

He travelled to Geneva on Feb. 24, for medical check-ups, and it is not clear if he has since returned to the country.

Bouteflika’s fitness for staying in power has been an open question since he stood for the 2014 presidential vote, which he won.

He confirmed his bid for a new term on Sunday, promising massive reforms and to leave the post early if re-elected.

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