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There is no Arab Spring in Algeria; or is there?

23 2 17
14.03.2019

What transpired in Algeria over the last three weeks can hardly be seen as another episode of the peoples’ awakening that swept through North Africa in 2011 as part of what has been dubbed the “Arab Spring”. Then, regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were deposed. The crisis in Algeria is a little different yet it has the potential to produce another Libya rather than another Tunisia in the region. That is of course before President Abdelaziz Bouteflika attempted to defuse the crisis in unexpected turn of events. Or did he?

When the demonstrations against the nomination of Bouteflika for a fifth term erupted on 22 February, his supporter had two arguments. One, the demonstrations are small and limited making them unreflective of wider public opinion. And two, there is no alternative national leading figurehead qualified to fill Bouteflika’s shoes if he goes.

Opponents countered by arguing that a lack of leadership is a system failure rather than lack of qualified individuals. And what if Bouteflika, in a moment of reconciliation with himself and his people, admitted to his inability to run for a fifth term and quit the race altogether?

Just a few days ago its seemed the ailing president was determined to seek a fifth term despite the protests which have grown in size and spread across Algeria with one demand; no fifth term.

Bouteflika: from revolutionary to ailing recluse

When the news broke on Monday that the embattled president is not seeking a fifth term, protests in the country turned into........

© Middle East Monitor