Abdelaziz Bouteflika (Arabic: عبد العزيز بوتفليقة) was an Algerian politician and diplomat who served as the President of Algeria from 1999 until his resignation in 2019. He was born on March 2, 1937, in Oujda, French Morocco, to Mansouria Ghezlaoui and Ahmed Bouteflika from Tlemcen, Algeria.
Bouteflika began his political career during the Algerian War when he joined the National Liberation Army at the age of 19. He received his military education at the École des Cadres in Dar El Kebdani, Morocco. He became a close collaborator of Houari Boumédiène, a prominent figure in Algerian politics, and a core member of the Oujda Group.
After Algeria gained independence in 1962, Bouteflika held several important positions in the government. He served as the deputy for Tlemcen in the Constituent Assembly and later became the Minister for Youth and Sport in the government led by Ahmed Ben Bella. In 1965, he played a key role in a military coup that overthrew Ben Bella, and he continued serving as the Minister for Foreign Affairs until the death of President Boumédiène in 1978.
Bouteflika's political career also involved international engagements. He served as the President of the United Nations General Assembly during the 1974-1975 session and led discussions with Henry Kissinger, marking the first talks between the United States and Algerian officials since the resumption of diplomatic relations.
In 1999, Bouteflika was elected as the President of Algeria in a landslide victory. He won subsequent re-elections in 2004, 2009, and 2014, making him the longest-serving head of state in Algerian history. As President, he played a significant role in ending the Algerian Civil War in 2002 and lifting the state of emergency in 2011 amid regional unrest.
However, Bouteflika's health began to deteriorate after he suffered a debilitating stroke in 2013. He made few public appearances during his fourth term, and his brother, Saïd Bouteflika, was appointed as his special counselor in 1999. Mass protests erupted in Algeria in 2019, demanding Bouteflika's resignation due to concerns over his ability to govern effectively. He eventually resigned on April 2, 2019, following months of demonstrations.
Abdelaziz Bouteflika died on September 17, 2021, at his home in Zéralda from cardiac arrest at the age of 84. President Abdelmadjid Tebboune announced his death on state television and declared three days of national mourning. Bouteflika's funeral took place on September 19, and he was buried at the El Alia Cemetery in a subdued ceremony. After his death, it was revealed in a Swiss secrets data leak that he held a Credit Suisse account that overlapped with much of his presidency.
Date of Birth: 2nd March, 1937
Time of Birth:
Place of Birth: Oujda