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FORMER ALGERIAN PRESIDENT ABDELAZIZ BOUTEFLIKA DIES AT 84

Former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika died on Friday at age 84 after suffering a crippling stroke in 2013.

In 2014, he earned the nickname of “the phantom president” when he was elected for a fourth consecutive term – without even appearing in person on the campaign trail.

Bouteflika’s birthplace remains unknown for certain, as his official biography did not name any location.
According to historians, however, Bouteflika was born in Oujda, Morocco, in 1937 to a modest family.

Even his exact role in Algeria’s war of independence from France is not known for certain, although he reportedly joined the National Liberation Army, the military branch of the National Liberation Front (FLN), in 1956, at the age of 19.

His death at the age of 84 marks the end of an era for Algeria. After two decades in power, he resigned in April 2019 after street demonstrations erupted against his plan to seek a fifth term.

Bouteflika, a protege of former Algerian leader Houari Boumediene, belonged to a generation of leaders that ruled Algeria since it gained independence.

In 1962, Bouteflika served in Algeria’s first post-colonial government as the minister of youth and sports. A year later, at the age of 26, he was appointed minister of foreign affairs, becoming the youngest person in the world to hold such a position.

During his years in office, Bouteflika emerged as a towering figure, both in Arab politics and in the Non-Aligned Movement. He hosted the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), in Algiers in 1974. That same year, he ordered the expulsion of South African officials from Algeria in protest against its apartheid system.

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