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Top Algeria politician resigns as party head

ALGIERS: One of Algeria’s most prominent politicians has resigned his post as the head of his political party in the latest political maneuverings ahead of next year’s key presidential elections.
Ahmed Ouyahia, who was once considered a frontrunner for the country’s top post because of his backing by this oil-rich nation’s powerful generals, announced Thursday his resignation as secretary-general of the National Democratic Rally.
“My resignation is not in service of a personal agenda, but rather its sole motive is to preserve the unity of our party,” he said in his message. For much of the past year, several major figures in the party have been pushing for Ouyahia to step down.
Algeria regularly holds presidential and parliamentary elections, but true power is believed to be held by a shadowy collection of generals working behind the scenes.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power since 1999, announced he would not run for a fourth term next year, leaving the race for the presidency wide open.
In November, several other rumored front-runners for the post were implicated in widely publicized corruption scandals.
Political analyst Ahmed Adimi of Algiers University, said Ouyahia was pushed out of power by the generals to clear the way for new faces ahead of elections to give the country’s politics some semblance of change amid popular discontent.

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