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Algeria to lift state of emergency

Big news out of Algeria today. Official media are quoting President Abdelaziz Bouteflika saying that the country’s state of emergency — which has been in place for the past 19 years — will be lifted. There’s a pretty big caveat, though:  Bouteflika also said, at a meeting with ministers, that the government should adopt new ...

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images
MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images

Big news out of Algeria today. Official media are quoting President Abdelaziz Bouteflika saying that the country’s state of emergency — which has been in place for the past 19 years — will be lifted. There’s a pretty big caveat, though: 

Bouteflika also said, at a meeting with ministers, that the government should adopt new measures to promote job creation and that Algerian television and radio, which are controlled by the state, should give airtime to all political parties, the official APS news agency reported.

Bouteflika said protest marches, banned under the state of emergency, would be permitted everywhere except in the capital. Political parties must respect the law to ensure freedom does not degenerate into anarchy, APS quoted him as saying.

As I mentioned yesterday,  anti-government protesters are planning a major rally in Algiers on Feb. 12. I can’t imagine this move will placate them. It does, however, make Bouteflika the fourth Arab leader — following Mubarak, Saleh and Abdullah — to make a major concession to the opposition this week.

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