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ALGERIA: TAKING DOWN A PICTURE FRAME

ALGERIA: TAKING DOWN A PICTURE FRAME

The aging president of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has not spoken in public in years. When he is meant to attend a public ceremony or a meeting, his handlers place a framed picture of him on an easel. So when the government announced recently that the 82-year-old Mr. Bouteflika, who suffered a debilitating stroke in 2013, would seek a fifth consecutive term in office, protests erupted across the country. They have now lasted two weeks.


Bouteflika, a hero of Algeria's 1960s war of independence with France, has ruled the energy-rich country with a strong hand since a devastating civil war in the 1990s between Islamists and the government. The memory of that conflict, which killed more than 200,000 people, has underpinned a grim bargain between the people and the government ever since: Mr. Bouteflika, and his circle of family members and generals, would rule without democratic accountability or economic openness, but they would also prevent a return to the bloodletting of the past.

But for the 70 percent of Algeria's population that is under the age of 30, the devastation of the 1990s is increasingly distant. And with the state-run economy flagging, millions of young Algerians are fed up with a sclerotic and opaque system.

Despite the demonstrations, Mr. Bouteflika and his circle have stuck with their plan to wheel him out for elections this April, though they've offered a concession: after the vote – which Bouteflika is sure to win – fresh elections will be held within a year in which he will not run. As of Monday, many protesters were still out in force.

The stakes are high not only for Algeria's 41 million people and its neighbors, but also for Europe, which counts the country as a major energy exporter, a counterterrorism ally, and a partner in controlling migration flows from Africa.

The bottom line: A young population with high expectations no longer accepts an authoritarian system built around a Weekend at Bernie's presidency. The repercussions could spread far beyond Algeria.

Meet Alessandra Cominetti, a recipient of MIT Technology Review Magazine's Innovators Under 35 award. As a lab technician at Eni's Research Centre for Renewable Energy in Novara, Alessandra has devoted her career to finding new solutions and materials to optimize solar energy. Much like the serendipitous encounter that resulted in her employment, her eagerness and willingness to try new things allowed her to stumble upon a material for the creation of portable solar panels.

Watch her remarkable story on the latest episode of Faces of Eni.

"If [the election] is very close and it ends up in the courts, that kind of protracted situation I think will lead many Americans to believe that it was an unfair election." Rick Hasen, election law expert and author of Election Meltdown, lays out some of the worst-case scenarios for Election Day, ranging from unprecedented voter suppression to dirty tricks by foreign actors. The conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. The episode begins airing nationally in the US on public television this Friday, October 30. Check local listings.

Joe Biden has vowed to radically change the US' approach to foreign policy and international diplomacy should he win next week's election.

But a lot has happened in four years under Donald Trump that could impede Biden's ability to simply return to the status quo ante. How different would US foreign policy really be under a Biden presidency? What will the two-term former vice president likely be able to change, and what's bound to remain the same, at least for now?

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On Wednesday, November 4 at 11a EST, we're gathering a panel to discuss "What Just Happened" with the US election. GZERO Media's Ian Bremmer, Tony Maciulis and Alex Kliment will be joined by The Washington Post's Karen Attiah and Eurasia Group's Jon Lieber. Watch live at: gzeromedia.com/gzerolive.

Decision 2020: What Just Happened? Wednesday, November 4, 11a EST/8a PST

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Bookmark this link to watch live: gzeromedia.com/gzerolive

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Jon Lieber, Managing Director for the United States at the Eurasia Group, shares his perspective on a special US election edition of US Politics In 60 Seconds:

So, we're about five days out from the election right now.

And the story of this week has been the remarkably steady polling lead for Joe Biden that he's had for months now. The other big story is the turnout, massive amounts of turnout. 100% of the 2016 vote already cast in Texas. 60% nationwide votes already cast. We are headed for record shattering turnout, could be around 155 million Americans voting.

On election night, what are we watching for?

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