Former Algerian Prime Minister Ali Benflis talks to the Associated Press in Algiers, Thursday, March 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)
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A former Algerian prime minister says a leadership vacuum and uncertainty over whether the North African nation's ailing president will seek a fifth term has created a political impasse a year before the next election. Ali Benflis, who has sought Algeria's presidency twice before, is part of an opposition that wants firm democratic guarantees if President Abdelaziz Bouteflika decides to run again after 19 years in office.First elected in 1999, Bouteflika is Algeria's longest serving leader since the former French colony won independence in 1962 .Since the two-term limit was not applied retroactively, Bouteflika can seek re-election one more time.Another unknown is who is running Algeria right now: Bouteflika, his brother Said Bouteflika or the power brokers that long have been an essential component of the country's obscure governing structure. Members of Bouteflika's entourage refuse to discuss Benflis and accuse him of betraying the president.
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