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Algerian president promises political reforms

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is pledging to make political reforms in the north African country, whose repressive government and widespread poverty and unemployment have led to unprecedented street demonstrations on the capital's streets in recent weeks.

Bouteflika promised "the opening of a new page" of reforms following those already carried out since he came to power in what opponents called sham elections in 1999.

Bouteflika said reforms in justice, education and administration "cannot bear fruit in the absence of political reforms."

The leader didn't give further details of the reforms. Algerian media have said they will include changes to the constitution and possible early legislative elections.

Bouteflika's comments were read by one of his advisers at a conference Saturday marking the 49th anniversary of the end of the French-Algerian war.

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