Speaking at the launch of his campaign on 12 February, Bouteflika said, “I pledge to commit $150bn towards continuing our policy of socio-economic development.”

Bouteflika pushed through a change to the constitution on 12 November 2008 so that he could serve more than two terms in office.

No other major figures are contesting the presidential election.

Algeria’s prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia, who also appeared at the rally, said that nobody had stopped opposition figures from standing in the elections.

At the rally, Bouteflika said, “I announce my candidature as an independent. The people have the right to choose in all freedom.”