Senior Fellow William Lawrence: “Don’t Count Out Bouteflika”

On January 17, 2014, the New York Times quotes POMED Senior Non-Resident Fellow William Lawrence on the lack of political opposition in Algeria

“Despite (Bouteflika’s) frailty and age, it is also important not to count out the possibility that Bouteflika might cling to power, especially since he is in the process of reorganizing the country’s intelligence service, known as the DRS, in an effort to ease its grip on the state.

That would also mean that Algeria would avoid major changes. An oil state like Algeria largely exists to distribute its massive oil revenues, according to William Lawrence, a senior fellow at the Project on Middle East Democracy, and likes to maintain the status quo rather than explore new leadership or hold competitive elections.

“Bouteflika extending means we’re delaying this scenario,” Lawrence said. The establishment “is very conservative, like a corporate board.”

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