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The Debate

Algeria: Out with the old... Will Bouteflika's resignation overturn the system?

A victory for the street or an attempted soft coup? State television has been broadcasting images of Algeria's ailing president tendering his immediate resignation. Abdelaziz Bouteflika was already in government at independence from France back in 1962. Under pressure from mass protests in recent weeks, he first had to forego a fifth mandate and has now reneged on a caretaker status.

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As has so often been in the case in Algeria's tumultuous history, it's the military that tipped the scales, dropping Bouteflika to try to safeguard its interests. Tuesday's announcement was preceded by travel bans and arrests of top business leaders close to the president.

Will it be enough to appease citizens who want wholesale change? Could we now enter a period of score-settling with old vendettas resurfacing and a scramble for the state-run enterprises that gravitate around Algeria's oil riches? Can the younger generation succeed in overturning "le système" without the bloodshed of the past?

Produced by Charles WENTE, Ingri BERGO and James VASINA.

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