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Vol 59 No 14

Published 13th July 2018


Dead in the water

How long can an ailing Abdelaziz Bouteflika preside over an Algerian polity cankered by corruption?

Only in Algeria could a surge in calls for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to stand for a fifth term in the 2019 presidential election trigger speculation that the 81-year-old raïs's health is even worse than previously thought and that, according to the Algiers rumour mill, he may even be dead. One wilder version suggests Bouteflika's supposed death has been kept a secret by widely-distrusted presidential brother Saïd Bouteflika and a small coterie of close allies who are working out how the Bouteflika clan can avoid losing power to rival factions before revealing it. These are no more than rumours, but there has been some unusual activity around the president's residence in Zeralda and the Presidency in El Mouradia, sources in Algiers say. Bouteflika's routine medical tests in Geneva, scheduled for late June, were cancelled without explanation.

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