Does Algeria now have a president for life?

November 13, 2008

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.

 

Democracy campaigners see it as a dark day for the economically powerful but politically fragile country, which has a history of violence and intolerance.

 

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?

3 comments

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It is sometimes very easy to judge others without knowing the actual true situation on the ground.
If the Algerian people choose to reelect someone over and over again,then thats their choice.
That person must be doing something right otherwise they would opt for another person.
It is obviously imperative that these elections are held in a free and fair atmosphere.

Posted by Makweti | Report as abusive

Does that make Algeria less democratic than America or any other country…in Algeria we have the military lobyy and in America they have AIPAC, and I’m pretty sure each country has got its lobby…Let’s stop giving lessons to others when we know that we’re not that transparent ourselves. We colonized countries for ages than we ask them to be democtaric….strange?

Posted by bongani | Report as abusive

A lifetime president should mean that the country contains a dictatorial government forever.

Posted by A.R.Shams | Report as abusive