On 10 June Ahmed Ouyahia, was elected to lead one of the country’s main ruling parties, the RND (Rassemblement National Démocratique). This nomination confirmed Ouyahia’s status of potential presidential successor. Since President Abdelaziz Bouteflika suffered from a stroke in April 2013, speculations arose on who might replace him. Ouyahia, three-time Prime Minister of Algeria, has more than 20 years of experience inside Algeria’s political establishment. This makes him a strong candidate as a successor to Bouteflika.

Impact on country risk

Ouyahia’s nomination increased the competition for the presidential succession between the intelligence services (DRS), the main sponsor of Ouyahia, and the army. This is illustrated by the fact that the army announced its support for the other country’s governing party FLN (Front de Libération National) after the nomination of Ouyahia. The lack of a presidential successor is likely to prolong the institutional paralysis that has plagued the state since Bouteflika's re-election in 2014. This paralysis comes at a time when reforms are necessary: the country has been hit hard by the oil shock, which has led to a fiscal and current account deficit. Moreover, terrorism activities remain a risk due to the instability in neighbouring Libya. Without reforms and attention to the pressing economic and social issues, the risk of strikes, protests, and riots nationwide is likely to increase and as a result bring political risk to higher levels.

Analyst: Jolyn Debuysscher, j.debuysscher@credendogroup.com