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Algeria: Bouteflika Candidacy for Fifth Term Officially Submitted

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
The official APS news agency said that Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's candidacy for April's election was formally lodged on Sunday, by his campaign director.

The submission on behalf of the ailing leader, who is in Switzerland for medical treatment, comes after huge protests against his plan to stand for a fifth term in office, AFP reported.

The 82-year-old flew to Switzerland on February 24th for what his office described as "routine medical checks".

The president has not detailed when he will return from the Geneva hospital.

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika pledged not to serve a full-term if re-elected at April polls after huge protests against his bid to extend his 20 years in power.

The ailing leader vowed, in an 11th-hour letter read out on state television, to organise a "national conference" that would set a date for early polls which he would not contest.

The announcement came after hundreds of students staged new protests on Sunday in the Algerian capital and other cities, against a fifth term, ahead of a midnight deadline for candidates to register for the April 18th vote.

The latest demonstrations came after tens of thousands of people took to the streets of the capital on Friday in the biggest challenge in years to Bouteflika's rule.

Police fired water cannon to prevent protesters from reaching the Council, where candidates must register for the presidential race, security sources said.

The veteran leader uses a wheelchair and has rarely been seen in public since a 2013 stroke.