Bouteflika withdraws candidacy

After weeks of mass protests Algeria's President Bouteflika has announced that he won't run for re-election, postponed the elections and said that the constitution will be revised. Does this mean the changes the demonstrators want are now imminent?

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Le Quotidien d'Oran (DZ) /

One step forward, two steps back?

The citizens must stay on their guard, warns the Algerian daily Le Quotidien d'Oran:

“In the coming days a transition government with national competencies is to be appointed. But this makeover for those in power won't produce anything new. It will simply breathe new life into the government system which the Algerians at home and in the rest of the world have rejected and condemned. This is not a trick or fraud. But the blatancy of this sterilising manoeuvre forces all Algerians to remain sceptical. ... Have the great hopes of the people been betrayed? Time will tell. What is clear is that it's too soon to celebrate. We must wait and see what comes next. One step forward, two steps back?”

Vedomosti (RU) /

How the elite is manoeuvering to retain power

The international community must keep a close eye on the transfer of power in Algeria, Vedemosti agrees:

“A delay of the transition process carries the risk that the elites will sacrifice the president in order to maintain their grip on power. ... The attempt to have an ailing president run for re-election in 2019, as they did in 2014 even after he had had a heart attack, is a consequence of the fragmentation of an elite that couldn't agree on a successor. ... Now the elite is probably pinning its hopes on a thoroughly weak figure in order to preserve its influence in the country.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Algeria tells a different story

All the elements of the Arab Spring can also be found in the Algeria conflict, Dagens Nyheter notes:

“The average age of the demonstrators is just 28 and the young protesters are anything but happy. Unemployment is high and even the educated have no guarantee of employment. Since the collapse of global oil prices in 2014 there has been no room for economic concessions. Some say the war in Syria has shown that there can be no democracy in the Middle East. From the same starting point the army in Egypt has set up an even worse dictatorship than Mubarak's. The mass protests in Algeria tell a different story: tyrants who deny people their political rights and economic prospects won't sit securely in the saddle forever.”

Club Z (BG) /

The regime remains stable

There is no sign of fundamental change in Algeria yet, remarks Club Z:

“The military establishment is the backbone of the Algerian state, which means that a change at the head of the state can only take place with the generals' blessing. The military will intervene if it feels that it is losing control or that the stability of the regime and its structures is under threat. Up to now the demands for change, for a departure from the current policies and the proclamation of a second republic don't pose such a threat. That means that the current crisis in the country is still within the limits of what is allowed, regardless of how strong the voices against the regime are.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

The people thirst for life

Le Figaro describes what the Algerians must be wary of:

“One can only be happy that the country is on the path to a peaceful transition. But the demonstrators must continue to be watchful in order to prevent the grand barons of the regime from seizing power through constitutional tricks. The other risk is that darker forces could take advantage of divisions in the opposition to hijack the transition. Above all if disorder results. As so often, the Islamists are waiting in ambush. But such uncertainties cannot overshadow hopes for change. As the writer Kamel Daoud so aptly puts it: the Algerian people have an intense thirst for life.”