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International Relations

Algeria Political Crisis

Algeria Political Crisis

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  • GS 2 || International Relations || India & Rest of the World || Africa

Why in news ?

  • After years of simmering dissent and recent massive protests, Algerian strongman Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned from power, bringing an end to his 20-year rule over the North African nation.
    Why in news ?
  • Despite the historic development, Algeria continues to be rocked by a renewed wave of protests, this time targeting the interim government that has replaced Bouteflika.

Bouteflika rise to power :

  • In 1999, when the country was going through a civil war, Mr. Bouteflika won the presidency, with support from the military.
  • He resolved the civil conflict in Algeria and built a strong welfare state funded by revenues from oil and gas exports.
  • These measures bolstered his popularity and helped him stabilize his regime.

Issues with Presidency :

  • However, Bouteflika Presidency was also known for a ruthless administrative style that denied several basic freedom to people.
  • The presidential election was hardly free and fair.
  • But the resentment was gradually rising, particularly amid increasing economic woes following the 2014 crash in oil prices.
  • The oil and gas sector has been the backbone of the country’s economy accounting for about 20% of the GDP, and 85% of exports.
  • The fall in commodity prices hit the economy hard. The economic growth slowed from 4% in 2014 to 1.6% in 2017. Youth unemployment stood at 29%.

Concern for europe :

  • Crude oil, natural gas and other petroleum products constitute about 95 percent of Algeria’s export economy. Italy, Spain and France comprise three of Algeria’s top four export destinations.
  • Refugee crisis is also a concern for Europe.

Who will benefit? Iran :

  • The radical Islamic movement, led by Iran, is very strong in Egypt, Algeria, Libya and Ethiopia.
  • Last May, Morocco accused Iran of using Hezbollah to deliver weapons to an Algerian-backed militant group fighting against Morocco in the Western Sahara.