What Next for Algeria? (AUDIO INTERVIEW)
Algeria has witnessed remarkable events in the past few weeks.
Its leader, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power for 20 years but silent and mostly out of sight since a 2013 stroke, announced he would seek a fifth term. This brought Algerians into the streets for a string of angry yet peaceful nationwide protests.
Bouteflika, 82, realized he had a problem, so he relented, saying he wouldn’t run. He added, however, that elections, scheduled for April 18, would be postponed until a new constitution could be drafted.
Left unsaid was when the elections would be held. So the protests continued – until the military, a major element of Algerian political life – weighed in, its commander going so far as to declare the president unfit for office.
On Tuesday night, a beleaguered Bouteflika announced his resignation, effective immediately. In his stead, Abdelkader Bensalah, who chairs the upper house of parliament, will serve as interim president for up to three months, when new elections will be held.
But Algerians apparently are not satisfied. Bensalah is part of the old guard and they want a more thorough change, so the protests continue.
For an idea of what might be in store for the North African nation, The Media Line spoke with Prof. Rachid Ouaissa of the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies at Philipps University of Marburg in Germany.