Cairo — Whoever replaces Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, ousted by weeks of protest, will inherit another crisis in the making: the economy. Even before hundreds of thousands of Algerians began their campaign for political change, the government had only a few years worth of foreign currency reserves left. With the Opec member heading into uncharted territory after Bouteflika resigned on Tuesday, the clock to financial upheaval is now ticking faster. The promise of change preached by the revolts that swept the Arab world this decade has usually petered out when it came to the hard choices: take painful measures to fix enfeebled economies or placate angry populations demanding more from an often-rapacious ruling elite. It’s a pattern likely to be repeated in Algeria, one of the most closed economies in the region, where the population of 42-million is already hooked on benefits the state can scarcely afford. Countries roiled by unrest in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings witnes...

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