Bouteflika’s Fifth Term Risks Worsening Algeria’s Political Crisis- Financial Times

Bouteflika’s Fifth Term Risks Worsening Algeria’s Political Crisis- Financial Times

The UK’s Financial Times drew bleak prospects for Algeria whose ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika prepares for a fifth term that risks prolonging Algeria’s economic and political crisis.

Maintaining Bouteflika, who has been ruling Algeria since 1999, as President “ threatens to prolong the political paralysis in a country facing the monumental challenge of transforming its oil and gas dependent economy to create jobs for millions of frustrated youths while living off declining currency reserves,” wrote the London based influential paper.

The paper raised the uncertainties surrounding the health of Bouteflika citing statements by a French intelligence official who claimed the President was kept alive artificially.

Keeping Bouteflika in power indicates a crisis within the Algerian regime clans, which so far have been unable to agree on a successor, it said.

Dissident voices opposing Bouteflika’s fifth term have been suppressed, noted the paper, adding that police surrounded public squares and filled them with parked garbage trucks to prevent people from congregating.

Adding to the political uncertainties, economic prospects for Algeria are boding ill. The North country’s government has been burning through its foreign exchange reserves since 2014, when oil prices dropped. Reserves fell from $178bn in 2014 to $88.6bn at the end of June, according to official figures.

Think tanks have warned that Algeria will run out of hard currency in 2023 if it maintains same spending levels. Some even warned of a reproduction of the Venezuelan scenario in Algeria if no reforms are undertaken to reduce dependence on oil and gas exports.

The IMF is also depicting a gloomy picture of economic prospects in Algeria.

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