Too often, promising institutions and the system of democracy, are turned into tainted characters of government and become smeared by failing men, who would rather doom their people to social unrest and dissent, instead of relinquishing their deathly grips on power. Such is the predicament of Algeria today.
Ten days of social protest by Algerian youth have followed the stated intent of an ailing and often absentee President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 82, to seek a fifth-term in office. Algerian youth despise the notion of having the president run for office for a fifth-term because they fear he would win since he controls Algeria's sad example of the system of democracy.
Bouteflika gained the reins of Algeria back in 1999 and was credited with ending that nation's bloody civil war that claimed more than 100,000 lives. His government survived the Arab Spring of 2011 by promising and introducing reforms to qualm the populace of the North African country. In 2013, he suffered a stroke, yet he retained presidency. Rarely seen in public since the stroke in 2013, Bouteflika managed to win another reelection back in 2014 without campaigning in person.
His control of Algeria has waned with the youth, yet he continues to wield a great sway over the institutions of government. Rumored to be in Switzerland seeking medical treatment, Bouteflika has been able to circumvent Algerian rules to his advantage. While the Electoral Commission had said that candidates for the forthcoming April election needed to submit their candidacy forms in person, Algeria's Constitutional Council ruled that the president did not have to be physically present, the BBC-News reported earlier today.
So today, fresh protests broke out in Algeria as the president qualified and offered himself as a candidate in the April election, which most pundits believe he would win even though there are some six candidates.
In attempt to calm his nation's youth, who blatantly oppose his candidacy, the president sent a letter that was read on state-television claiming that if he won the election he would not serve a full term but would watch over a new election: rubbish. It is counter-democratic for any president to offer himself for a fifth-term in office. Bouteflika is old and ill and he should relinquish the future of Algeria into the hands of those most capable of securing a better future for Algerians - the choice of the nation's youth. Bouteflika's insistence on clinging to power is a mockery of the system of democracy. Ultimately, Algeria's youth must become the decision makers.