In its more than 50 years of independence since the end of French colonialism, Algeria has seen a failed experiment with socialist economic development, taken stabs at halfhearted economic and political liberalizations and defeated a bloody Islamist rebellion against the state. Yet today, the country still faces important challenges, including social transformations, economic uncertainty despite oil and gas wealth, and a worrisome political sclerosis. All of these challenges might become exacerbated by a pending leadership succession whose smoothness is far from guaranteed.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika may not complete his fourth term due to poor health associated with a stomach ailment and a stroke he suffered in April 2013, which incapacitated him physically. Bouteflika is one of very few remaining leaders from the successful 1954-1962 war of independence against France. At 77 years old, however, he is heading a country where 70 percent of the population is under 30.
The Rise and Fall of Bouteflika