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Bouteflika's Uncertain Fifth Term


In April 2019, Algerian voters will go to the polls to elect their next president. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the incumbent president, is the ruling FLN designated candidate for the elections. Bouteflika, who was first elected in 1999 and is the longest-serving Algerian head of state, has yet to announce his candidacy. However, for the moment the only obstacle to his re-election seems to be his advanced age and deteriorating health: the other candidates pose no threat and reflect the non-existence of any real opposition. Therefore, the question is not whether Bouteflika will be re-elected but what will happen afterwards. If he is still considered to be the father of the Reconciliation and represents a system whose longevity is based on its ability to adapt to changing circumstances, the regime will be unable to buy time and stall implementing change. Moreover, unless the Constitution is amended the 2019–2024 mandate will be Bouteflika’s last. Therefore, in the longer term a change in leadership will be imperative, at least from a political perspective.

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