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Vol 49 No 25

Published 12th December 2008


Algeria

Boutef, the Life President

The latest constitutional changes abolish presidential term limits and weaken parliament

If the willingness of a parliament to rubber-stamp the extension of presidential powers and the diminution of its own signals the atrophy of a country’s political system, then Algeria’s leaders and their institutions are sliding deeper into authoritarianism. Following in the footsteps of Namibia’s President Sam Nujoma and Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has joined the roster of African presidents who have persuaded their parliaments to end or extend the constitutional limits on the number of terms a president may serve. ‘Boutef’ is now free to stand for a third term in elections that he will almost certainly win early next year.

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