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04.11.2008 Algeria

Algeria 'to let leader stay on'


Algeria's government has proposed a constitutional change that would open the way for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run for a third term.

Algeria's constitution currently includes a two-term presidential limit. Mr Bouteflika's second term is due to end in April next year.

He is widely expected to run for a third term in office, though he has not publicly confirmed that he will do so.

Opposition parties have criticised the move as a threat to democracy.

Parliament is expected to approve the long-awaited constitutional change later this month.

"The amendment proposed to article 74 of the constitution maintains that the duration of the presidential mandate is five years and stipulates that the president of the republic can be re-elected," the official APS news agency reported.

The current constitution says the president can be re-elected "only once" - words that would be dropped from the amended text.

Mr Bouteflika, 71, has served as president since 1999.

He has overseen a reconstruction and development effort following a brutal civil conflict in that began in the 1990s and cost more than 150,000 lives.

Source: BBC