PoliticsElectionsElection Watch 2014: Algerian succession worries loom


Posted on Monday, 16 December 2013 17:44

Election Watch 2014: Algerian succession worries loom

By The Africa Report

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Photo©ReutersWill Algeria's three-time President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stay or will he go?


The endless game of cat and mouse that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is playing with Algeria's political and security elite suggests that even if he is not in the best of health, his mind is still sharp as ever.

But all the signs suggest that the three-time president will not try to run for a fourth term in office in 2014.

Observers are watching the moves of former ruling party secretary general Ali Benflis.

As the nearest thing Algeria has to a consensus candidate, Benflis will look to stay onside of the military, as well as not appearing to threaten any of Bouteflika's placemen.

The fate of corruption trials linked to state oil company Sonatrach will be a key sign of the way the regime is leaning.

Whoever wins out will have to fix the economy.

Flagging oil production, an unrealistically high benchmark for oil set in the budget and one of the least diversified economies in the world have created a toxic cocktail for the next leadership.

A splurge on infrastructure has not yet kickstarted an industrial revolution.

Instead, the country still imports high levels of food and goods.

Algeria, still wounded from a decade of civil war in the 1990s, did not follow the North African uprisings in 2011.

It would be a mistake for the government to ignore disaffection among the youth. ●


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