Algerian poet, ex-minister says won't run for president

Algerian poet, ex-minister says won't run for president
Azzedine Mihoubi, the prolific journalist and poet announced this week the end of his political career. This announcement came ahead of the anticipated Algerian elections of 2024.
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Mihoubi was a member of parliament from 1997 to 2002. (Photo by Nacerdine ZEBAR/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Algerian poet Azzedine Mihoubi, a former minister and presidential candidate, has announced he is quitting politics, denying claims he will challenge President Abdelmadjid Tebboune's re-election bid in 2024.

"My name has been cited by several publications... alongside speculation that has no truth to it," Mihoubi said in a message shared this week on social media.

"I wish to refute all these allegations," wrote the 64-year-old, who said back in 2020 he would relieve himself of his duties in the Democratic National Rally, formerly one of Algeria's ruling parties, to focus on writing.

"I publicly reiterate once more my withdrawal from all party political activity."

A prolific journalist, writer and poet, Mihoubi was a member of parliament from 1997 to 2002.

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He then held various posts in state institutions, including as head of public radio and the national library, before entering the government of longtime ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was unseated in 2019.

After serving as communications minister from 2008 to 2010, he became culture minister in 2015 until March 31 that year, two days before Bouteflika resigned in the face of mass street protests.

Mihoubi stood for president in the election that followed Bouteflika's ouster but lost to Tebboune.

In his statement, Mihoubi said he had dedicated himself "completely to writing and culture... contributing to the consolidation of the state, its identity, cultural pluralism and influence on the international level".