Monday, April 28, 2014 11:31 am
ALGIERS (AFP) – Sitting in a wheelchair, Algeria’s president Abdelaziz Bouteflika took an oath of office for the fourth term on Monday.
With his right hand placed on the Koran, he repeated in a frail voice the oath read out by a judge.
He pronounced thereafter that his election was a “victory for the state”.
Bouteflika, who was also in a wheelchair when he cast his own vote on election day, has hardly been seen in public since a mini-stroke which confined him to hospital in Paris for three months last year.
The 77-year-old then issued a brief statement in which he said his election was a “victory for the state”.
At the start of the ceremony, Bouteflika had placed his hands on his knees as he inspected soldiers following a display of their weapons outside the beachfront Palace of Nations resort.
After shaking hands with the head of a constitutional panel, Mourad Medelci, and members of his government, Bouteflika was greeted by celebratory ululation.
Official results showed he won 81.5 percent of the votes in an election marred by low turnout and claims of fraud by his opponents, including main rival Ali Benflis, who received just 12.18 percent.
The opposition had said they would boycott Monday’s swearing in ceremony, including five parties that had called on their supporters to stay away from the election.
Bouteflika remains very popular with many Algerians for helping to end a devastating civil war in the 1990s, although many people had been clamouring for change.