Ending Bouteflika’s Algeria: This is not the Arab Spring

The news that Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria’s ailing, octogenarian president will no longer be standing for a fifth term in elections next month should be hailed by Algerians a victory brought by the people.

Hundreds of thousands of Algerians have taken to the streets in recent weeks against the 82-year-old’s fifth-term presidential bid, with overseas observers repeatedly attempting to understand and define the protest movement through the prism of the Arab Spring.

Algerians, on the other hand, have made a conscious effort to distance themselves from this paradigm since protests begun, chosing instead to organise themselves in ways that differ from the regional events of 2011. When protests in neighbouring Tunisia ignited a wave of protests across the MENA region, Algerians took to the streets demanding the same staple requests – work, freedom and bread.

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