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Algeria's 77-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is running for his fourth term.Reform prospects remain dim with a fourth Bouteflika term.Political blockage rather than reform is thus likely to continue.While the political class and social elites publicly engage in confrontation, important decision-makers in the military, in the FLN and other system parties, and in the economic sphere appear to have reached consensus over a fourth term for Bouteflika.These key decision-makers are not ready to take any risk of true reform, as shown by the fact that they did not back former Prime Minister Mouloud Hamrouche, the figure most apt to forge consensus and lead Algeria toward democratic transition. He was instrumental in initiating the Algerian Spring 25 years ago (thus far the most democratic period in the country's history), has broad respect among reform-oriented actors and much of the fragmented Islamist camp and also has good ties to important military figures. Presidential candidates, including reformers, party leaders, the private press and the president himself, severely condemned this attack on a "key national institution" and defended its head, Gen. Mohamed "Toufik" Mediene.
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