Algeria’s ailing president whose public appearances are a thing of the past is said to be bracing for a fifth term at the Presidency of North Africa’s largest country, beset by the fall in oil prices threatening its fragile social peace.
A report by the French Senate members said that 80-year old Bouteflika may surprise his entourage, including his brother Said or the all-powerful chief of staff and defense minister Ahmed Gaid Salah, the two main potential contenders for presidency.
The French Senators observe that reforms in Algeria are not treated in emergency. “There is no real popular pressure calling for regime evolution,” deplored the authors of the 34-page report.
The document features comments by renowned Algerian and French figures showing that the legitimacy of the Algerian regime derives from the “stability” of the country in the wake of the Arab Spring, in addition to the fact that the memories of the 1990s civil war are still vivid amid Algerians.
The status quo is also fed by oil rent which serves to maintain the vulnerable social peace in the country, said the report, which blames opposition parties for not fulfilling their duties to keep those in power in check.
“The Algerian political system seems…as stable as it is complex,” noted the report, adding that it remains marked by a sort of collegiality steadily integrating the civil society and the business community.
The report deems that Bouteflika may well run for a fifth term despite being a living-dead because he derives legitimacy from leading Algeria out of the black decade.