- Algerian oppositoin has condemned President Abdelaziz Bouteflika endorsement as a presidential candidate for the 9 April elections despite having announced to contest as an independent candidate.
The opposition parties have said President Bouteflika's run for the third term will compromise the country's young democracy. "This could derail the already shaky democracy and could worsen the country's fight against terrorism," an opposition official said.
Mr Bouteflika is expected to win the April election as his tough competitors have dropped off the campaign trail in November last year after the country amended the constitution to abolish presidential term limits.
President Bouteflika said he would stand as an independent candidate in the upcoming general election to pursue his national reconciliation policy, as well as fight terrorism while leaving the door open to those who would rescind their decision not to commit terrorism.
"That is why, God willing, I have decided to run in the presidential elections as an independent candidate," Mr Bouteflika said.
The President's supporters widely claim that he deserves the continued trust of the people for having put Algeria back on the path to stability after what most people described as an undeclared civil war that raged through most of the 1990s and led to a loss of lives and property.
The 71-year-old president, a veteran of Algerian politics was first elected in 1999. He has overseen a return to relative peace, though there has been a series of suicide bombings over last two years blamed on militants linked to al-Qaeda.
He then won his 2004 re-election by a landslide. International observers hailed that vote as one of the Arab world's most open, despite persistent suspicions of foul play.
Bouteflika said he would devote his third term to pursuing "the implementation of my program, notably national reconciliation," a reference to a program including amnesty for former militants that is aimed at healing the wounds of an Islamic insurgency that ravaged the country in the 1990s.
Algeria is a major producer of oil and gas and has launched an ambitious economic development programme using profits from sale of hydrocarbons.
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