Algeria: A European crisis in the making

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika takes the oath at his fourth inaugural in 2014
The debility of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has become a metaphor for the accelerating decay of the country's entire political system (source: dpa)
  • Algeria’s ruling elite is locked in a power struggle as President Bouteflika fades away
  • The protracted oil price slump means the government can no longer buy social peace
  • Unless the regime can agree on a plan, a popular revolt seems probable

Algeria is in so much trouble that it is hard to know where to begin. The country’s economic outlook is so dire that street violence could erupt without notice. Its political scene is paralyzed by a seemingly endless succession crisis involving its ailing 78-year-old ruler, President Abdulaziz Bouteflika. Legislative elections earlier this month did nothing to stop the drift and were mostly boycotted by an increasingly desperate populace. If turmoil breaks out, a descent into full-blown civil war cannot be excluded. This would present Europe with a new regional crisis of the first order.

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