Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looked set to win a fourth term with allies claiming victory in an election on Thursday, despite questions over his health and his rare appearances since suffering a stroke in 2013. Official results were due on Friday, but Bouteflika’s camp claimed the independence veteran backed by the dominant National Liberation Front (FLN) party had succeeded in securing five more years at the helm of the North African OPEC state. The 77-year-old Bouteflika, who has appeared in public only a few times since his stroke, earlier voted in Algiers while sitting in a wheelchair. He gave no statement and only briefly shook hands with supporters before leaving.
“Our candidate is the winner,” Abdelaziz Belkhadem, Bouteflika’s personal representative, told Reuters without giving any details. “Without any doubt, Bouteflika got a landslide victory.”
Ali Benflis, Bouteflika’s main rival in a field of opposition candidates struggling to challenge him, quickly rejected the election results because of fraud but did not cite any specific accusations.
“I do not recognize these results, I condemn this fraud,” he said soon after the closing of the polls.