Bouteflika's Decision To Run Reaffirms Core Views

BMI View: Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's decision to seek a fourth term in upcoming presidential elections reaffirms our view that the vote will bring continuity rather than change in the political system. Although we do not expect popular unrest in proximity of the vote, risks to stability are set to increase over the longer term.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will seek a fourth term in presidential elections to be held in April, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal announced on February 22. Bouteflika, 76, is in ill health since suffering a stroke in April 2013, and has been rarely seen in public since. Sellal declared that, even though Bouteflika has not completely recovered physically, he is in possession of all his mental and intellectual faculties, and he does not need to run an election campaign as others can do it for him. Critics contend he is unable to run the country, and one opposition leader even called for Bouteflika to show his medical records before seeking office again.

That said, we believe that the current president will most likely win a fourth term, with several parties having rushed to support his nomination. In addition to the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN), other political blocs such as the National Rally for Democracy (RND) - the party with the second largest number of members in parliament - have advocated his re-election. On the other side, Algeria's opposition is deeply divided and fragmented. Although a number of personalities outside of the ruling elite have announced their intention to run in the upcoming vote, few are seen as serious candidates. Finally, several opposition parties such as Algeria's largest Islamist political bloc, the Movement of Society for Peace, and the liberal Rally for Culture and Democracy, announced that they will be boycotting April's elections citing fears of fraud.

Risks Increasing Over The Coming Decade
MENA - Short-Term and Long-Term Political Risk Rating

Bouteflika's Decision To Run Reaffirms Core Views

BMI View: Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's decision to seek a fourth term in upcoming presidential elections reaffirms our view that the vote will bring continuity rather than change in the political system. Although we do not expect popular unrest in proximity of the vote, risks to stability are set to increase over the longer term.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will seek a fourth term in presidential elections to be held in April, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal announced on February 22. Bouteflika, 76, is in ill health since suffering a stroke in April 2013, and has been rarely seen in public since. Sellal declared that, even though Bouteflika has not completely recovered physically, he is in possession of all his mental and intellectual faculties, and he does not need to run an election campaign as others can do it for him. Critics contend he is unable to run the country, and one opposition leader even called for Bouteflika to show his medical records before seeking office again.

Risks Increasing Over The Coming Decade
MENA - Short-Term and Long-Term Political Risk Rating

That said, we believe that the current president will most likely win a fourth term, with several parties having rushed to support his nomination. In addition to the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN), other political blocs such as the National Rally for Democracy (RND) - the party with the second largest number of members in parliament - have advocated his re-election. On the other side, Algeria's opposition is deeply divided and fragmented. Although a number of personalities outside of the ruling elite have announced their intention to run in the upcoming vote, few are seen as serious candidates. Finally, several opposition parties such as Algeria's largest Islamist political bloc, the Movement of Society for Peace, and the liberal Rally for Culture and Democracy, announced that they will be boycotting April's elections citing fears of fraud.

Despite holding regular elections, power in Algeria remains in the hands of a small group of military and intelligence officials, know in the country as "le Pouvoir" (the power). Should Bouteflika be re-elected, his role in decision making will likely be limited given his ill health, and much of the decisions will continue to be taken by the traditional elite. Bouteflika's candidacy therefore reaffirms our core view that the vote will bring continuity rather than change in the political system ( see 'Election To Ensure Continuity', January 29).

Outlook Uninspiring
Algeria - Hydrocarbons Sector

Although Bouteflika's decision to run for a fourth term despite his medical condition will exacerbate popular dissatisfaction, we do not expect a major uptick of unrest in proximity of the vote. Memories of the civil war in the 1990's are still vivid in the country, and the ruling elite is seen by many as the most reliable guarantor of order. Moreover, the government has been willing to prop up current spending in order to maintain a measure of support over the past few years, and we expect public spending to be expansionary in 2014. However, the government's inability to diversify the economy away from hydrocarbons, along with declining oil and gas revenues, will ensure that growth remains well below potential over the coming years. We forecast real GDP growth averaging 3.6% over the 2014-18 period, which is not enough to foster job creation in the country. With the ruling elite's ability to ensure an improvement in the standards of living of the population declining, while channels to convey popular discontent are limited, risks to stability will increase over the medium term, as reflected in our political risk ratings for the country. We rate Algeria's short-term and long-term political risk at 61.3 and 57.3, respectively, with lower ratings corresponding to higher risks.

×

Enter your details to read the full article

By submitting this form you are acknowledging that you have read and understood our Privacy Policy.

×

REQUEST A DEMO

By submitting this form you are acknowledging that you have read and understood our Privacy Policy.

Thank you for your interest

A member of the team will be in touch shortly to arrange a convenient time for your free demonstration and trial. If your enquiry is urgent, please email our Client Services team here.