President Emmanuel Macron‘s statements to the magazine Young Africa concerning the political situation in Algeria provoked several reactions, in particular among the political parties of the opposition.
In an interview with the magazine, published on November 20, the French president said: “I will do everything in my power to help President Tebboune in this period of transition. He is courageous (…) You cannot change a country, institutions and power structures in a few months. ”
Mr. Macron adds: “There was a revolutionary movement, which is still there, in a different form. There is also a desire for stability, in particular in the most rural part of Algeria. Everything must be done for this transition to succeed. But there is an important time factor. ”
Positive messages after a series of mini-crises
“There are also things which are not in our standards and which we would like to see evolve”, qualified the French head of state, alluding to the arrests of militants of the hirak and to the situation of the media criticized by the NGOs Algerian and international. “I am never in the invective nor in the posture of the giver of lesson. Algeria is a big country. Africa cannot succeed without Algeria succeeding, ”he said.
These positive messages come after months of tensions between Algiers and Paris: the Algerian authorities were offended, publicly and off, at French caution vis-à-vis the agenda of power in Algiers. We will remember the unpleasant and indirect exchange between Macron who had contented himself with “taking note” of the election, on December 12, 2019, of the new Algerian president, and of the latter’s reaction: “I will not answer him (…) I was elected by the Algerian people and I only recognize the Algerian people. A week later, on December 17, everything seemed to be back to normal when Macron called his Algerian counterpart, wishing him “sincere wishes for success.”
And despite other telephone exchanges, mini-crises broke out between the two countries, as on the occasion of the broadcast, by France 5 at the end of May, of a documentary on the hirak and Algerian youth causing the recall by Algiers of its ambassador in Paris.
But the recent statements of the French president seem to go in the direction of frank support for his Algerian counterpart, hospitalized in Germany since October 28 following his infection with Covid-19.
“Post-colonial France is part of our problem”
For part of the Algerian opposition, these new elements of language do not pass.
“(Emmanuel Macron) authorizes himself to issue a certificate of confidence to the Head of State. He says he is ready to help him in this period that he describes as a transition. This is not a simple interference but the revelation that France is in control of a road map for our country ”, writes on his Facebook page Mohcine Belabbas, president of the Rassemblement pour la culture et la democratie (RCD, laïc) .
“Mr. Macron, it is precisely the repeated interventions of official France in the sovereign choices of African countries that pose a problem. Post-colonial France is part of our problem in addition to being part of a painful past for Algeria and Africa. Algeria and Africa cannot indulge in a subordinate status in the service of neocolonial interests ”, continues the opponent.
For his part, the opponent Zoubida Assoul, president of the Union for Change and Progress (which is part with the RCD of the Pact for the Democratic Alternative, PAD), also criticizes the declarations of the French president: “France supports Tebboune while he is ill? Why does she want to repeat the experience after having supported Bouteflika ill during her fourth term? Because France defends its interests. Is this not an attack on the sovereignty of Algeria. ”
She also recalls the recent statements by the head of diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian, on a visit to Algiers in mid-October, who commented on the referendum of 1is November thus: “President Tebboune has displayed his ambitions for reforming institutions to strengthen governance, the balance of powers and freedoms. It is up to Algerians, and to them alone, to translate the aspirations that have been expressed with civility and dignity into a political vision with institutions capable of making it a reality. ”
The former political prisoner Karim Tabou, president of the Democratic and Social Union (unapproved party), goes further, qualifying France as “racist”: “A France which does not want to accept that in this country can emerge democratic forces, an emancipated youth, a youth capable of challenging underdevelopment ”, reports El Watan.
The same newspaper takes up the reaction of the Socialist Workers’ Party (PST): “The political attitude of Macron, who publicly reaffirms his unwavering support for the current Algerian regime, announces major economic, political and security concessions for the benefit of imperialism, and at the expense of our sovereignty and our economic interests. ”
The Islamists of the Movement for the Society of Peace (MSP, Muslim Brotherhood tendency) also expressed their criticism through the voice of Nacer Hamdadouche, deputy and member of the party leadership: “Official France which suffers from a terrible demotion on the scene of international domination (…) only has to return to its backyard, its former colonies, to interfere there as if France recognizes neither the independence nor the sovereignty of these countries. ”
“These friendly messages between the Algerian and French presidents do not honor us and worry us”, continues the Islamist deputy, calling on the Algerian authorities to “take a strong position against French interference”.
“What is to be noted is that Macron operates a clear link between the dynamics of the hirak and the current new power which would be its continuity in a way, it is a change of paradigm of great importance which ultimately marries the process of the Algerian system which says it wants to accomplish a revolution internal ”, supports a senior official of the State.
“While defending himself from being a lesson giver, Macron gives us a course on a supposed transmutation of the popular movement, on its fragmentary urban nature, on the long time of the transition and therefore the patience that this calls for, etc. », Writes columnist Mustpaha Hammouche on Freedom, adding: “Yesterday, he called us to free ourselves from the fantasies of a badly assimilated decolonization, today, he gives us a pure extract of neocolonial thought. ”