Plus ça change. . . . Algeria, ever obedient to the wishes of the army and Security Services, reelected its ailing and elderly president in a landslide on April 17. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, known as Boutef for short, garnered 82 percent of the vote in a virtually uncontested race. Ali Benflis, who came second with 12 percent, decried massive fraud—possibly including an official turnout of 52 percent, high considering the numerous calls for a boycott.Read more
it is less than three years since the fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in the small Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid, sparking the events that toppled dictator Ben Ali and launched the “Arab Spring.” Now, the high hopes of those days have faded, and Tunisia is in disarray, its society deeply divided and violence flaring.Read more
Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika returned to Algiers on July 16 after three months in a hospital in Paris. His health will prevent him from running for reelection in April, and it’s unclear whether he can run the country until then. As a result, the contest over his succession is already gearing up, and the Islamists are first out of the starting blocks. The United States and the European Union—along with China, a major presence in energy-rich Algeria—are closely monitoring this latest round in the continuing struggle over the Islamists’ role in government and society.Read more
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