In the twilight of his life, the former Algerian president Ahmed Ben Bella, who died in April 2012, received at his villa in Algiers our collaborator Renaud de Rochebrune. Under a giant portrait of his mother, whom he revered, former rais confession. Among other confidences, Ben Bella looks at his relationship with Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who had taken part in the coup that overthrew him, June 19, 1965, before becoming, in the following years, a generous friend and protector. While evoking the celibacy of the current head of state, Ben Bella complained that "a man of his age is not yet married". But he judges with a smile, "it's never too late to do."
It is probably unlikely that the Algerian President, March 78, disabled by stroke in April 2013, which requires him to lead the country in a wheelchair, following the advice of his old friend and wedding knot. Unlike its peers and its predecessors Arabs and Africans - with the exception of Sultan Qaboos - Bouteflika has never shown with his wife and children. It exercised its presidency in single. Unique in North Africa and rare in the south of the Sahara.
Celibacy, even more taboo than the Health Newsletter
President celibacy is even more taboo that his health bulletin. As is the case for the real place of birth, the Moroccan city of Oujda, where he was born in March 1937, his official biography does not mention his marital status. Since its accession to supreme power in 1999, this aspect of his private life was mentioned only once. It 'was in February 2000, in an interview with the Lebanese LBC. Rather cheeky journalist asks the question that angry: "And 'the head of state of Algeria married?" "I'm not married," he said dryly responded. At that time, it may no longer. But ten years ago, it was very different.
Back home in 1989, after his famous "crossing of the desert" between Paris, Geneva and Dubai, the former foreign minister had in fact ended with the blessing of his mother, Mansouriah Ghezlaoui (who died in July 2009) to end his long bachelorhood. In a country of tradition and Muslim culture, where the family is sacred, it is not good for an older guy to stay.
Bouteflika has contracted a religious marriage with Amel Triki, born in 1968, native of Tlemcen and daughter Triki Yahia, a former senior official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to several accounts, Bouteflika met the woman during one of his frequent trips to Cairo, where Triki father was stationed as a diplomat. After a courtship, Bouteflika eventually win the girl's hand, then a medical student. A former minister, who often had tea with her, remember a nice big intelligent, cultured and refined.
No wife: protocol problems
The "marriage" is celebrated on Friday in August 1990 on the third floor of the family home of Bouteflika, in El-Biar, on the heights of the capital. Exceptional for a holiday, was asked a scribe of the municipal civil status to show up with the necessary documents to register the union. This Bouteflika, the mother, the bride's father and relatives of both families. Dehbi Abdelkader, a former resistance fighter and former presidential adviser under Boumedienne, a close friend of Bouteflika before they are blurred, it is one of the two witnesses.
A JA, he confided that he had been instructed by the groom to read the Fatiha and writing in Arabic of marriage. Two weeks later, he will Dehbi commitment Mustapha Bouteflika - doctor brother died in July 2010 - with a hostess. In marriage a month later, the family held a lavish ceremony at the Club des Pins to which they are invited over a thousand people. Senior officials, ministers, experts of the party, and major businessmen, the ban and backbenchers of the nomenklatura are. Grand master of ceremonies, the dolphin putative Boumedienne, banished from power until his death in 1983 and sentenced by the Court for embezzlement, savoring his revenge.
Bouteflika has lived with his wife? One has moved into the El Biar occupied before settling in the summer of 2013, the large property Zeralda, which serves as a residence and place of convalescence? Dehbi Abdelkader, who visited him often, says that there has never noticed any female presence. When the owner questioned in the absence of his vehicle, he replied evasively. "And 'with his parents. There will come a time when I present." The case of the lady who still remains an enigma fuels the chronic menagerie.
It is unclear whether the president has children. However, it does not fail to show in front of the cameras with his three grandchildren every time they visit a polling station. Reportedly, the couple divorced and the woman a new life, now shares between Egypt and France. Gossips claim that continues to benefit from a particular attention from the Embassy of Algeria in Paris, where he would have the status of a diplomatic adviser.
During the first term Bouteflika (1999-2004), the absence of a prima donna has sometimes raised some protocol. During the visit of Jacques Chirac to Algeria in March 2003, we had to choose between the handful of women who were the government to accompany the wife of the French president, Bernadette Chirac. This role was ultimately rests with the minister responsible for women's issues. Today, these puzzles protocol poses more. Bouteflika no longer travel abroad, except for health reasons. As for the agenda of the president, it is often up to an audience at his residence in Zeralda.
Records of the customs of senior officials of the State
And 'well known that in a previous life, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the eldest son of a family of four boys and two girls, just brought monastic existence. Appointed minister to 26 years under Ben Bella, the man with blue eyes who was wearing big sideburns, great customer Parisian couturier and amateur Cuban cigars, was not above the mundane.
In the niches of the Algerian authorities, it was said that the minister has organized some spirited evenings with government colleagues in elegant villas in the capital or in the coastal resorts. A little 'as those described in the festival Les Folles Nuits d'Alger, attributed to the wife of a Scandinavian minister of Boumedienne and presented as a history of bitter sweet life version of harem. E 'was also said that Kasdi Merbah, head of the Algerian military security, the forerunner of the Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS), records of customs officials of the State compiled ...
This way of life has not escaped the French officials. In the second volume of his memoirs, Power and Life (1991), Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who was to pass a luminous portrait of Bouteflika, confided that his escapades Parisians were not secret information Hexagon. "And 'active, clever, resourceful, Giscard wrote. Sometimes he disappears for weeks without being traced. It is sometimes incognito make visits to Paris, which we are not prepared. It closes in the home of a large hotel, where visits enchanting one another. "Bouteflika loved women and paid him well, shows one of his old acquaintances. Long, he shared the life of a professor of medicine at which he was very attached, before their paths parted. Today, this woman continues to hire new President.
Women's lives Bouteflika: the mother, the sister and Fatiha Boudiaf
He has long celibacy Bouteflika been a source of tension with the mother? Probably, says Abdelkader Dehbi, often collected the soul of his friend former states. Since the end of his exile, three women is very important in the life of Bouteflika. First the mother, a woman of strong character, the chief of which is called "Yaya" or "El Hadja" and to whom he swore boundless affection. His influence on his son was such that he consulted for all major decisions, such as in 1994, when the general power to offer him. It will decrease.
Then there was the sister Zhor, midwifery. Elevated to the rank of counselor to the presidency. Care, ensures the comfort of the head of state, including mitonnant him the dishes he likes. Finally, there Fatiha Boudiaf, widow of the assassinated president, with whom Bouteflika has forged ties. Before his election in 1999, and went regularly to the villa which housed the headquarters of the Foundation Mohamed Boudiaf, tells a frequent visitor.
On the same day Zeroual announced his resignation on 11 September 1998, Bouteflika called Fatiha Boudiaf to encourage him to submit an application. "E 'in one of the offices of the foundation that took place a few weeks after that phone call, the famous meeting between Bouteflika and the general Médiène [intelligence chief] that will seal his election," said one of his former companions.
It was put to the president several female conquests, including a singer, a businessman or a rich doctor who lives between Paris and Algiers. "They say that many things wrong about the head of state, moderates one of his former ministers. If they like the company of women, love to talk to them for hours on the phone, is not what we Casanova likes to portray. But this seductive, pleasure-loving part of his legend. "
Chadli Bendjedid and Halima (l.) It met at the Elysee by François
and Danielle Mitterand, 10 November 1983. © Clément / AFP
It was once the first ladies ...
They speak rarely, if ever their privacy, but some have not failed to appear with their half sweet. First president after independence Ahmed Ben Bella will marry the knot in 1972 with the journalist Zohra Sellami, while detained in a residence in the south-west of Algiers. Committed activist, one who has never been first lady often take the floor to defend the cause of women.
Known to be ascetic life Anissa Boumedienne lawyer married to-Mansali. Although it does not have an official title, Anissa not accompanied her husband no less abroad or when the heads of state receptions in Algeria. On the death of her husband, she accused some leaders have Unplug appliances that kept him alive. To this day, she continues to defend the memory of her husband.
Halima, she married her second husband by Chadli, who manages Boumedienne in 1979, I really enjoyed it, the spotlight and family photos. His countrymen find the first lady, along with Ronald and Nancy Reagan, during the visit of Chadli in the US in 1985. The women of influence, he has made and unmade executives senior government career.
Second wife of Mohamed Boudiaf, designated head of state in January 1992 and killed six months later, Fatiha Boudiaf was distinguished for his fighting spirit. Since 1992, he continues to demand the truth about the death of her husband.
General Zeroual, President from 1995 to 1999 was in contrast with absolute discretion. Married with two children, he has never shown with his wife.