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Algeria: Bouteflika strong enough to lead, says election manager

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Algeria: Bouteflika strong enough to lead, says election manager
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Despite being weakened after a stroke, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is the best equipped candidate to lead Algeria, according to his election campaign manager who says Bouteflika has recovered strongly enough to govern.

The 77-year-old has remained mostly out of the public eye since his stroke a year ago, apart from brief television appearances.

Despite his absence, Bouteflika is almost guaranteed a fourth term after 15 years leading the nation with the backing of loyal army factions and the dominant National Liberation Front (FLN).

Meanwhile, supporters of opposition leader Ali Benflis say a change is needed to make Algeria a better place.

Five opposition parties, including Islamist and secular movements, have announced a boycott of the election. They say the vote is unfairly tilted in favour of the FLN.

Many young Algerians are dismissive of party politics but
protests are common over food prices, unemployment and housing – the same issues that exploded into revolution three years ago in neighbouring Tunisia.