Algeria leader Bouteflika pledges constitutional reform

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has been in power for 12 years, has promised to amend the constitution to “strengthen democracy”.

Delivering a long-awaited speech on state TV, he said a constitutional commission would be created to draw up the necessary amendments.

It was his first address to the nation in three months.

Unrest broke out in January with strikes, marches and rioting echoing protests elsewhere in the Arab world.

Under pressure to amend the constitution and limit presidential terms, the 74-year-old leader lifted the country’s state of emergency in February, after 19 years.

However, the trigger for the unrest appears to be mainly economic, especially sharp increases in the price of food.


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