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Vol 60 No 6

Published 22nd March 2019


A spring in the step

The president may be on his way out, but who will replace him is far from clear as the protest movement ploughs on

The Arab Spring has finally reached Algeria. People power on a scale not seen in 30 years forced elderly and infirm President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to agree not to stand for a fifth term of office. The waves of protest across the country were too strong for him, and those around him, to withstand, despite desperate attempts to cling on. These included warnings that the crisis could spark a return to terrorism and the carnage of the 1990s civil war, plus a promise that he would not stay for the full term, and that he would change the system. Scenting victory, the protesters refused to give up. In the end, Bouteflika and his inner circle around him faced a simple choice: crush the protests or give in to them. Too many officials had already started siding with the opposition and the loyalty of the army could not be guaranteed, so they opted for the latter.

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