Many Algerians say that the president and other veterans of the 1954-1962 war of independence against France have neglected them for decades.
The military, which has traditionally played a behind-the-scenes power broker role, has distanced itself from Bouteflika and stayed in its barracks throughout the crisis. It is expected to retain influence under all scenarios.
Algeria was relatively untouched when the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings swept away veteran autocrats in the Arab world. Bouteflika and his allies, effective manipulators of the opposition, managed to avoid major unrest by spending oil money on the population, handing out low interest loans and housing.
Bouteflika helped to defeat a civil war against Islamist insurgents in which tens of thousands of people were killed in the 1990s, and many Algerians long accepted heavy-handed rule as the price of stability.
But the public has lost patience with deteriorating economic conditions and the FLN’s failure to make the transition to a new generation despite the president’s failing health.