Algerians protest re-election bid by unpopular incumbent president

Algerians protest re-election bid by unpopular incumbent president

Today, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will register his candidacy for the election on April 18. As the candidate for the

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Photo: Reuters

Today, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will register his candidacy for the election on April 18.

As the candidate for the ruling National Liberation Front, Bouteflika is also endorsed by many business organisations and trade unions. With the wheelchair-bound, 82-year-old president absent from any public speech over the last seven years, many Algerians see him as incapable of ruling effectively or simply a conduit for others’ power.

Bouteflika’s candidacy triggered protests across Algeria last week. Sceptical of the legitimacy of the elections, thousands of young Algerians are marching in Algiers. As the largest anti-government protests in three decades, they are increasingly threatening to the ruling party.

While Bouteflika’s leadership helped end a civil war in 2002, this is a fading memory for the 70% of Algerians under 30 who face an approximately 25% unemployment rate and reducing government subsidies due to drops in oil prices. Two-thirds of Algeria’s revenue depends on oil and gas, supplying 33% of Europe’s and 50% of Spain’s reserves.

As Bouteflika will likely go on to win the elections, expect further unrest. As the protests increase, the instability may affect energy exports.

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