A former Algerian prime minister has announced his candidacy for April's presidential election.

Ali Benflis, 70, is the first credible candidate with substantial backing to declare his candidacy in the North African nation of nearly 38 million. Benflis, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2004, said Sunday that fighting corruption and creating jobs would be his government's main goals.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power since 1999, has been hurt by a string of corruption scandals.

Algeria's presidential election is wide open amid strong questions whether Bouteflika, 76, is healthy enough to run for fourth term. A few minor figures have declared their intention to run but none is backed by the country's powerful government.