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Vol 40 No 7

Published 2nd April 1999


Boutef is bounced back

The generals' choice seems certain to be the people's new president

Like Nigerians last month and Indonesians in June, Algerians will get their chance on 15 April to vote for a civilian president after decades of despotic and corrupt military rule. Up to a point. Just as in Nigeria and Indonesia, Algeria's generals control the process and choose their favoured candidate. But the political class too looks forward to the poll. The front-running candidate, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, is backed by veteran establishment jobbers, such as retired Generals Larbi Belkheir, former President Chadli Bendjedid’s chief aide, and Khaled Nezzar, who as Chief-of-Staff in January 1992 ordered Chadli’s overthrow. Bouteflika’s main rival, a former foreign affairs minister, is Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi. He is backed by former members of the banned Front Islamique du Salut (FIS), including Abdelkader Hachani, who think he might follow an Islamist agenda and settle with the FIS.

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