Algeria is in an authoritarian predicament

Algeria is in an authoritarian predicament

Introduction to “The World”. The noose is gradually stifling Algerians’ desire for democracy, on the eve of legislative elections on Saturday 12 June, which are supposed to complete the country’s institutional normalization. Massive and disproportionate repression in the face of the nonviolent movement triumphed over the Hirak, the popular street movement which, having obtained The departure of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in April 2019, demanded, as has already happened since independence in 1962, the emergence of a truly civilian and non-military state.

Looks like it’s been a long time already Abdelmadjid TebbounePresident-elect, in a fraudulent election in December 2019, welcomed “maturity” from U.S « mobility Blessing “ To stop the prospects of a fifth term for Mr. Bouteflika. Today, the new head of state confirms that, like all of his predecessors, the army man, he exercises the reality of power, by seeking by all means to stifle demands for transparency, openness and freedoms.

In a climate fraught with fear, the regime succeeded in forcibly eliminating, with the exception of the Kabylie region, the weekly demonstrations that challenged its authority. Algiers is cordoned off hard every Friday, and at least 2,000 people have been arrested in a span of two weeks during the last two demonstrations, which may have been in early May. The repressive escalation is marked by indictments and increased harsh prison sentences. Of the prominent activists and opposition activists, 214 – the highest number in two years – were imprisoned for expressing an opinion or participating in a demonstration.

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The repression now targets established political parties, which raises the question of a multiparty conquest dating back to 1988. With no party in its paychecks, the power can rely, after legislative elections, on the former groups of Bouteflika’s regime, which are now presented as “Independent” MPs, as well as Islamists close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

This alliance between the army and the more conservative forces in Algerian society risks underlining the predicament in which Algeria finds itself. After absorbing the end of Bouteflika’s reign and the arrest of a few oligarchs, the regime stifled protest and resumed its authoritarian responses. President Tebboune did nothing with his promises of liberation and to listen to the youth, and he presented a simple civilian front to the army. For their part, the Hirak organizers failed to convert their rejection of the regime into a credible democratic alternative. They also failed to produce a character who could embody a better future.

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Political stagnation – with the executive being controlled by the military, and parliament with no real power – goes hand in hand with a worrying economic stagnation. Falling fuel prices, which provide 60% of the state’s revenue, weaken the state’s ability to buy social peace and invest. Algeria has been relatively spared from the Covid-19 virus, but with an unemployment rate of over 14%, a dynamic demographic and an economy unprepared for the energy transition, Algeria looks like a closed country.

As the 60th anniversary of its independence approaches, on July 5, 2022, Algeria is experiencing the myriad boom of a seemingly immutable regime, with the military and the privileged class confiscating the future of a country that it cannot, however, lacks in natural resources nor human potential.

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