Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika waves after casting his vote during the local elections at a polling station in Algiers, Algeria November 23, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
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Just as now, observers say, a powerful ruling caste dominated by the army will run the show from behind the scenes.Speculation is rife abroad over what will happen to Algeria after the departure of Bouteflika, who has visited Europe several times for treatment and remained in hospital in France for months after his stroke.One liberal Algerian analyst also expected continuity.The priority, according to observers of Algeria's system, is the stability that its citizens see as incarnated in Bouteflika.Young Algerians, who form two thirds of the population of 41 million, nevertheless feel left out and disconnected with a remote political class.Bouteflika, in power since 1999, is rarely seen and has not spoken in public since his stroke.If Bouteflika doesn't run, the tight circle of army generals and intelligence officials could produce a "joker" candidate from outside the political class.Any succession scenario involving Said Bouteflika, the president's younger brother and a close aide, would be controversial as the military men don't favor hereditary rule, observers say.
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