Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

Print Print Cite Cite
Style: MLA APA Chicago Close


Algeria’s Sad Inauguration

by Elliott Abrams
April 29, 2014


Abdelaziz Bouteflika was sworn in yesterday for his fourth term as President of Algeria, but there was no joy in Algiers or anywhere else in the country.

Reuters reported that Bouteflika took the oath “in a weak, often wavering voice” and from a wheelchair, and this was his first public speech in two years–all of this from the effects of a stroke.

In a way, Bouteflika’s sad situation reflects that of Algeria: its political system is also sick and stuck, as I’ve noted before here. In Algeria, almost half the population is under the age of 24 and youth unemployment is high. What can Algerian youth have thought about the event yesterday, where hidden powers in the military decide that a very sick 77-year-old man must soldier on into another term that he will most likely not survive?

There’s a difference between a system that is stable, and one that is frozen solid–and therefore risks becoming brittle and then fragile. Watching Abdelaziz Bouteflika painfully take his oath of office yesterday, one had to wonder whether Algeria’s rulers are risking the country’s stability in a vain effort to freeze the system they have built into place permanently.

Post a Comment No Comments

Post a Comment

CFR seeks to foster civil and informed discussion of foreign policy issues. Opinions expressed on CFR blogs are solely those of the author or commenter, not of CFR, which takes no institutional positions. All comments must abide by CFR's guidelines and will be moderated prior to posting.

* Required