Algeria clears way for Bouteflika to seek 3rd term
Algiers, November 12, 2008
Algerian lawmakers on Wednesday scrapped a rule limiting presidents to two terms, a move seen by opposition parties in the Opec member state as aimed at letting head of state Abdelaziz Bouteflika stay in office for life.
Bouteflika, 71, has yet to say whether he wants to run again but is widely expected to contest a presidential election in April 2009 when his second five-year term expires.
His ruling tripartite coalition has an overwhelming majority in the legislature, and the joint sitting of the national assemby and the Senate voted 500 for the amendment to the constitution, with 21 against and eight absentions.
"Our goal is to strengthen our political system," Bouteflika, who was not present in parliament, said in a letter to the chamber read out by an official after the vote.
The news was greeted with muted dismay by Abderaouf Benmakhlouf 21, a computer engineer in a coffee shop in Algiers' Bab El Oued district.
"I'm neither for or against Bouteflika," he said. "But I want change and I would've preferred he not go for a third term. I think 10 years as President is more than enough. He should retire and give a chance to somebody else to rule the country." -Reuters