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Algerian president announces reform will come

According to this BBC News article, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has announced that the state will take steps to create political reform.  The focus of the changes will be electoral laws and laws allowing journalism to be easily censored.  Bouteflika did not discuss possible term limits upon himself.  The article points out that economic issues are actually the key issue in Algeria, and the proposed changes are political in nature.  Still,

Political analyst Mohamed Lagab cautiously welcomed Mr Bouteflika’s speech.

“Acknowledging that political reforms – and not only social and economic reforms – will help to solve the crisis is key,” the Algiers University academic told Reuters news agency.

“But Bouteflika did not give a deadline for the reforms he announced and he did not sack the government yet,” he added.

The article also points out that 150,000 people died in the last war in Algeria, which resulted in a new constitution in 1996.  The explanation for why Algerians have not been aggressively protesting likely has to do with popular memory of past violence and a suspicion that a recurrence of violence is never far off.  Confident of martial consequences, the motivation to protest is stymied.

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