Hints of political change on horizon in Algeria

  • Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2013 12:30 a.m.
AP File Photo
Algerian youth in Algiers on celebrate the soccer championship match that the country’s president will be too sick to attend.  The aging politicians and generals that has run Algeria for the last half-century is reaching its end.
AP File Photo Algerian youth in Algiers on celebrate the soccer championship match that the country’s president will be too sick to attend. The aging politicians and generals that has run Algeria for the last half-century is reaching its end.

ALGIERS, Algeria — The Arab Spring may finally be en route to Algeria.

With the president in a French hospital recovering from a stroke, the generation of aging politicians and generals that has run Africa’s largest country for a half-century is reaching its end. Adding to the mix, Algeria’s overwhelmingly young population is increasingly vocal in its demands for jobs and housing that its oil-dependent economy isn’t providing.

Algeria has the most powerful and best-equipped military in North Africa and the Sahel and is an important bulwark against terrorist groups linked to al-Qaida. Any further instability in North Africa, where Tunisia, Libya and Egypt are already struggling, could embolden the armed militants.

So far Algeria has been buoyed by high oil prices, and it has spent lavishly to try to buy off the discontent. But critics maintain that short-term approach does not take into account the volatile energy market or of Algerians’ deep-seated need for a new political vision.

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