Magazine article New Internationalist

Reintroducing. Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Magazine article New Internationalist

Reintroducing. Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Article excerpt

The electoral victory in Algeria of Bouteflika for his fourth term as president of Africa's largest country is a non-event of major proportions. The enfeebled 77-year-old politician barely appeared in public during his campaign and is reported to be much reduced by a stroke he suffered last year.

His victory should be seen as a win for a powerful Algerian bureaucracy. The state is still firmly under the sway of the generation that came to power following the 1950s war of independence and offers little participation to the 80 per cent of Algerians under the age of 45.

The authoritarian practices of the FLN (National Liberation Front) ensure that any meaningful opposition remains marginalized. Bouteflika's candidacy (unkindly referred to by some as the return of the 'walking dead') has provoked a grassroots boycott movement called barakat (Enough! …

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