Bouteflika, Abdelaziz

Updated About content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Abdelaziz Bouteflika (äbdĕl´äzēz´ bōōtĕflĕkä´), 1937–, Algerian political leader. He fought against the French in the National Liberation Army and was appointed minister of youth, sports, and tourism shortly after independence (1962). As Algeria's foreign minister (1963), Bouteflika became a major spokesman of the nonaligned nations. In 1974–75 he served as president of the 29th UN General Assembly. In 1979 he became an adviser to President Chadli Benjedid, but Bouteflika was dismissed in 1980 and spent much of the next two decades in exile. He returned to Algeria in 1999 to run for the presidency as the candidate of the National Liberation Front and the National Democratic Rally, both military-backed parties, and won the election after opposition candidates denounced the election as rigged and withdrew. Bouteflika worked to end the civil war with Islamic fundamentalists, and the largest group ceased fighting in June, 1999, leading to a significant drop in violence. He was reelected in 2004 and, after the constitution was amended to allow him to run again, in 2009 and, despite significant health problems, 2014.