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Vol 45 No 6

Published 19th March 2004


A man for election seasons

Algerians dislike their clever President but they'll probably re-elect him

On 8 April, Abdelaziz Bouteflika will almost certainly become Algeria's first civilian president to win re-election. If he does, it will reflect less on his popularity than his hold on key power-centres - yet not the traditional ones of top officers or the former ruling party. He will win without backing from 'les décideurs', the serving and retired army and security officers who usually pick Algeria's rulers, or from a majority of the main but fractured establishment party, the Front de Libération Nationale. The FLN will probably back Boutef's former Premier, Ali Benflis. After a difficult few months in which Boutef prised the party from his grasp, Benflis looks as if he may rally some of his troops.

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