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President Abdelaziz Bouteflika Dominates Algerian Politics

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is among six candidates vying to become the next leader of the oil-rich North African nation, as voters cast ballots in Thursday's presidential election.

The 77-year-old president is widely expected to win a fourth term, in spite of health issues that prevented him from campaigning.

Mr. Bouteflika has made few public appearances since suffering a stroke last year. He cast his ballot Thursday from a wheelchair at an Algiers polling station.

In 2009, he captured about 90 percent of the vote.

The president has the backing of the ruling National Liberation Front Party.

In spite of his popularity, there have been sporadic protests against his re-election bid. Also, some opposition supporters called for an election boycott.

Mr. Bouteflika took power in 1999, near the end of a civil war that pitted Islamist extremists against the military-backed government.

In 2008, he amended the constitution to allow for unlimited re-election of sitting presidents.

Analysts say President Bouteflika's toughest challenger in Thursday's vote is his former prime minister, Ali Benflis, who is the leading opposition candidate.

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