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Does Algeria now have a president for life?
After the Algerian parliament changed the constitution to lift presidential term limits, north Africans are asking whether Algeria now has a president for life.
In making the change, Algeria has followed a route taken in recent years by other African countries such as Cameroon, Chad and Uganda, all of which removed the limit of two presidential terms.
The change means that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks certain for relection in the April 2009 election, although he has not yet confirmed he will stand.
Are five more years of the socialist-minded Bouteflika what Algeria needs to promote pluralism, inclusive politics and business, as well as to continue rebuilding after the civil war of the 1990s, as his supporters argue?
Or will the secretive military-based system that sits behind the presidency continue to monopolise oil income, a governance model that opponents say perpetuates catastrophic levels of unemployment, poverty, homelessness and social unrest?