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AlgeriA: Tebboune’s Political Agenda Swings Between The Ballot Box And The Street

Pace of elections with gangs! On Friday March 12, demonstrators in several cities across the country rejected the announcement made by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune calling, the day before, for early legislative elections for June 12. This announcement was accompanied by the promulgation of the new Electoral Code. As a reminder, Parliament was dissolved on 1is last march.

These legislative acts are presented by the authorities as the continuation of the institutional reconstruction after the political earthquake caused by the popular hirak of February 22, 2019, which swept away the Bouteflika regime.

The Parliament inherited from the Bouteflika years was decried as the result of electoral fraud, based on the purchase of seats. Several former senior officials, including the majority party, the FLN, are being prosecuted for cases of political corruption.

Double challenge

The challenge for President Tebboune is twofold. First of all, how to go to legislative without a partisan apparatus which supports it, having cut the bridges with its party, an FLN stigmatized and weighed down by the catastrophic Bouteflikian legacy? Especially since the new Constitution, amended in November 2020, allows the opposition, if it appropriates a parliamentary majority, to appoint a head of government from its ranks.

The other challenge remains the street, which has revived the hirak protests since February 22, the second anniversary of the 2019 protests.

For the first challenge, the authorities, as highlighted by an analysis of the daily El Khabar, seem to have adopted an approach close to the Macronian pattern in France, by trying to overcome partisan divisions and by relying on civil society.

“This logic could have been acceptable if Algeria really had a base of civil society organizations that could play this role. The daily is worried about the refusal of the authorities to approve new parties while we are witnessing, according to El Khabar, to a “birth by caesarean section” of a whole new civil society with the surge in the creation of associations in recent months.

The bet on “civil society”

Many observers have also made an immediate connection between the birth, at the beginning of March, of a “coalition of associations”, called “Nida el watan” (the call of the fatherland), the presence of an adviser. from the presidency to the creation ceremony of this body and the speech of President Tebboune, since his electoral campaign, insisting that his only political base remains civil society.

Would Nida el Watan be the outline of a presidential majority which will have to prevail against the traditional parties of the regime, such as the FLN or the RND? “We don’t intend to be in politics. But Nida el Watan will support all the electoral lists which deserve it on the occasion of the next legislative election. In addition, members of our coalition who wish to be candidates have the right to do so, it is a constitutional right. Civil society must be able, through its elected representatives, to participate in the drafting of laws ”, argued Mustapha Zebdi, founding member of Nida el Watan and president of the Algerian Association for the protection and guidance of consumers and their environment. .

The idea is that the power in place can rely on independent lists and young candidates to “create a new political class that reflects the reality of society and not that of ideologies overtaken by reality,” says a source official.

An election in the face of the crisis

This is not the opinion of certain opponents, such as the Islamist Abderazak Makri, president of the MSP (Muslim Brotherhood trend), who warns against the “creation of a vertical political and social landscape as well as the policy of the fait accompli” .

“We will see who really represents the overwhelming majority of the population which is young, who really represents the small trader or the housewife, who listens to the street and who, on the contrary, maintains the position of the opponent of salon ”, counterattacks a state executive, formerly elected FLN.

On the left opposition side, the criticism of power and its approach is final. “Will the next legislative election resolve the problem of the political representation of the people which has been denied to it since 1962? Will the next elections resolve the multidimensional crisis the country is experiencing? Will they resolve the regime’s latent political crisis? Declared the leader of the Workers’ Party (Trotskyist) Louisa Hanoune.

One of the manifestations of this crisis remains the continuation of the marches on Fridays and Tuesdays. How to convince the demonstrators of the merits of the electoral agenda drawn up by the authorities? For the commentator of the TSA site, “the return in force of the hirak and the maintenance of the course of the systematic refusal of all the initiatives of the capacity leave little doubt as for the repetition of the scenarios of the presidential and the constitutional referendum in terms of participation and general atmosphere of rejection. The same causes can only generate the same effects, it is not excluded to find oneself on June 13 with an assembly which is certainly new, but not more legitimate in the eyes of a part of the population than the one it will come to replace ” .

But the hirak itself seems in crisis, because in the absence of a clear political project beyond the ambient “degagism”, fears multiply on the entryism of the Islamists and their quasi-insurrectionary slogans which parasitize the Friday marches. and Tuesday. The editorial writer of Freedom, Mustapha Hammouche, clearly evokes “the offensive of trivialization of Islamist communication begun long before the return of the hirak in the street”, and speaks of a “structured enterprise of creeping Islamization of the hirak’s discourse”.

Hence, according to the editorial ofEl Watan, the need for “the rehabilitation of the political”: “The disqualification of the power in place is widely accepted, but its notorious impasse risks being duplicated and manifesting itself in the street which is growing in turmoil and multiplying the swerves. ”

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