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Backers of Ailing Algerian Leader Urge Him to Seek Fifth Term

FILE - Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks on after voting in Algiers, May 4, 2017.

Algeria's governing party is urging President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to seek a fifth term even though the 81-year-old has been debilitated by a stroke for years.

The head of the FLN party, Djamel Ould Abbas, formally asked Bouteflika to run in the May 2019 election in a speech Saturday to party lawmakers. Ould Abbas added that "the last word remains with him, of course.''

Bouteflika is barely seen in public, and it's not clear whether he is still really in charge of Africa's largest country.

Ould Abbas praised Bouteflika's record as a leader since winning the presidency in 1999 and bringing a cautious peace to a North African country riven by years of insurgency.

No other presidential candidates have emerged because they are waiting to see whether Bouteflika will run.