Army backed President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been in power since 1999. At the beginning of the unrest in Tunisia he promised to open up state media to opposition parties, create new jobs and lift the state of emergency imposed on the country since 1992. His concessions failed to prevent protests however. Demonstrators defied a ban on public gatherings in the capital Algiers although widespread bloodshed has not been reported despite a massive turn out of protesters and a significant police presence on the streets. Pro-democracy demonstrations are planned for Saturdays, riot police intervened with batons at one such rally in the capital in mid-February.
Political system: republic
President: Abdelaziz Bouteflika – 1999 / …
Population (2008 census): 34.4 million
Human Development Index1: 84th
Unemployment: 10.2% (governement statistics)
1HDIis calculated according to factors such as schooling, life expectancy and gross national income and is used by the UN’s Development Programme for its Human development reports.