Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced (or actually - it was announced on his behalf) that he will be running for the next presidential elections in Algeria.

This led to massive protests against a senile ruler who is in place for four mandates.

Algeria is a democratic country, they have elections and the candidates people vote for are ultimately elected. If there is such a pressure for Bouteflika not to be reelected, it is enough that people vote for another candidate. Somehow these other candidates gave up once he announced his decision.

If the majority of voters elect him, it means that the majority of the population believes that he will be best suited for that role. This may or may not be the case - bit it does not matter as this is the way democratic elections work.

It looks like ~25% of the population is between 18 and 50 years old, and ~20% above 50. This suggest a rather young population - the one who is currently protesting.

Why are the protesters so sure that Bouteflika will be reelected? Why did the other candidates immediately gave up?

  • 1
    Algeria is a democratic country, they have elections and the candidates people vote for are ultimately elected. No it's not, elections are probably falsified. It's actually quite complicated. But good question nonetheless.
    – Bregalad
    Mar 5, 2019 at 7:07
  • @Bregalad: I tried to look for some hard data from international observers, but nothing pops up. The closest I found is a EU report on other elections (in French) and another one from an African organization which I believe is less credible (taken into account how elections go there). The conclusion is that the elections were so-so but better than for the region. There was no clear "it is a fraud" comment.
    – WoJ
    Mar 5, 2019 at 14:27
  • Update "The most recent presidential election was planned to be in April 2019, but widespread protests erupted on 22 February against the president's decision to participate in the election, which resulted in President Bouteflika announcing his resignation on 3 April."
    – Rick Smith
    Dec 21, 2022 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


Why are the protesters so sure that Bouteflika will be reelected?

Because he was reelected the last three times and there were allegations of electoral fraud.

Also, it's not a given that the protesters are sure about the results of the election. As reported, they largely protest to show their disapproval of the sitting president (Bouteflika is in a bad health and there're serious doubts about his fitness for office) and their dissatisfaction with the current state of the national economy and politics.

Why did the other candidates immediately gave up?

As far as I can tell, the only candidate to withdraw their bid was Ali Benflis, the major opposition candidate. As reported by Aljazeera he did it specifically to protest Bouteflika's candidacy:

On Monday, Ali Benflis, Bouteflika's main opponent during the 2004 and 2014 presidential elections, described Bouteflika's offer as an "unspeakable additional provocation".

Benflis, who has withdrawn from the presidential race to protest against Bouteflika's fifth-term bid, said the "Algerian people were expecting an unambiguous response but, instead, they heard the same unfulfilled old promises."

Benflis was a candidate during the previous election when he lost to Bouteflika. He didn't recognize the result as fraudulent. This was also reported by Aljazeera:

Benflis, a former prime minister, criticised the election as marked by "fraud on a massive scale".

"I do not recognise the result... (because) recognising it would be complicit in fraud," Benflis told a news conference after being declared runner-up.

Official figures for turnout were down from the 75 percent turnout for Bouteflika's last win in 2009. The figures have been described by activists and opposition politicians as inflated.

  • Thank you, this is enlightening. As for the fraud, I commented above about the search for independent monitoring agencies I did. As for the opposition candidate - resigning in protest seems quite surprising to my uninformed eyes. It basically sais "if Bouteflika is a candidate, he will be obviously elected". He did not say that he (Bouteflika) would be elected (in 2019) though fraud but that he (Benflis) is disgusted by the mere fact that Bouteflika is a candidate. Having no exposition to Algerian elections, I find this strategy strange
    – WoJ
    Mar 5, 2019 at 14:32
  • (or, alternatively, everyone knows that once Bouteflika is a candidate, he will certainly be elected)
    – WoJ
    Mar 5, 2019 at 14:32
  • I'll add that whether the elections are fixed or not this is a common opposition tactic, used in most countries, to try and discredit an opposition candidate. The political aim is to create doubts in the minds of the people about a candidate. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it backfires.
    – sfxedit
    Dec 21, 2022 at 15:03

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