Since he was elected to a fourth term in office in April, 2014, president Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his most loyal lieutenants have had just one thing in mind: how to pave the way for the ailing leader's succession in such a manner as to guarantee his clan's interests. And Bouteflika's physical handicap hasn't prevented him from brilliantly orchestrating a double offensive. On one hand, his loyal armed forces chief, Ahmed Gaid Salah, has been on the march since before 2014 to neutralize the powerful boss of the spy agency Departement du Renseignement et de la Securite (DRS), Mohamed 'Toufik' Mediene, the leader's staunchest adversary. On the other, the secretary-general of the FLN, Amar Saadani, is acting on the political side as the referee in the game to decide Bouteflika's successor. For the moment, prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal seems to have the advantage over his predecessor Ahmed Ouyahia. The president's brothers (his unofficial adviser Said Bouteflika) but also the discreet Abderrahim Bouteflika, a k a Nacer, are bending ears in the corridors.
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