A generation of leaders who won their spurs during Algeria's 1954-62 independence war against France remains in power, having defeated a violent challenge by armed Islamists in the 1990s and, at least for now, seen off the rebellious spirit that toppled Arab autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya last year. Among the old guard is President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 75, who has served three terms and is thought unlikely to seek a fourth, if only for undisclosed health reasons. But with a more

Algerians celebrated with unprecedented enthusiasm on Wednesday (July 4th) the eve of the nation's 50th independence day. The country's 48 wilayas joined together with concerts, parades and processions that punctuated a long, emotionally-charged evening that remembered the 1962 break from 132 years of French rule.


Algerians are by nature anarchists. Whether at the level of local daily life or in periodic broader social movements, large numbers of grassroots Algerians over the past five decades have refused to accept the authoritarian and corrupt regime imposed since independence. That struggle continues.

Algeria's government has been paralysed by arguments over who should be anointed as favourite to be the next president, exposing divisions within the ruling elite that could shatter the country's fragile stability. The cohesion and control with which Algeria's establishment runs the energy exporting former French colony has kept it steady even as its neighbours were buffeted by the 'Arab Spring' upheavals over the past 18 months.


Algeria’s fratricidal war has divided democrats, seriously damaged civil society and left a political vacuum in the face of the ruling parties. There is almost no opposition with a proper base that can take the demands of the people forward.