Political Observation - The Presidential Crisis in Algeria

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Political Observation - The Presidential Crisis in Algeria

The pressure of the street protests and the dictates of the world powers have apparently compelled the ruling cabal in Algeria to stage a fresh manoeuvre to absorb the anger of the masses towards Abdul Aziz Bouteflika’s candidacy for a fifth term. In a move designed to circumvent the masses’ demands for a regime change, Algeria’s ruling cabal released a letter attributed to the embalmed Bouteflika in which he announced that he would not run for a fifth term and that the elections would be deferred until a “national conference” is established to draw up a new constitution which would be submitted to a national referendum. In this context, the functions of the Chairman of the High Independent Authority for Elections Monitoring (HIISE) Abdel-Wahab Derbal, as well as the members of the Authority have been terminated; and the task of the “national conference” will not be confined to drawing up a new constitution but also to setting the date of the presidential elections for which Bouteflika will not stand.

The ruling cabal staged another manoeuvre to absorb the anger of the masses through a host of cosmetic governmental changes. The prime minister’s post was handed to Interior minister Noureddine Badaoui after his predecessor Ahmed Ouyahya, the puppet of former intelligence chief loyal to France General Toufiq had tendered his “resignation”. The post of deputy prime minister was also created and handed to Ramtane Lamamra who also now holds the post of foreign minister. The farcical changes were culminated by bringing Abdul Aziz Bouteflika hurriedly back from Geneva to be physically present when the announcement of this reshuffle was made.

In fact, these recent measures were made one day after a tripartite meeting between Saeed Bouteflika, Ahmed Gaid Salah, the Chief of Staff and General Toufiq, the former head of military intelligence; and it seems that these three powerbases have reached a fresh agreement in the hope of satisfying the masses’ demands and at the same time achieving what they had been expecting from the candidacy of Bouteflika for a fifth term which had infuriated the masses and triggered the widespread protests. The candidacy of Bouteflika for a fifth term was prompted by the failure of the powerbases in the Algerian regime to reach a consensual agreement on his replacement and it was designed to give those powerbases more time to reshape the system, giving it a new lease of life with a host of constitutional amendments to appease the masses and the time to secure an agreement without allowing their jostling and domestic struggle to lead to a chaos that would in turn lead to losing their acquisitions and their dominion over the country, thus undermining the interests of their masters.

France’s welcoming of Bouteflika’s decision to relinquish a fifth term, as expressed by French interior minister by saying that France hoped that a new dynamism fulfilling the aspirations of the Algerian people would soon be launched, it confirms the presence of a cooperation between France and America on resolving the presidential crisis by tackling the popular movement calling for change. This became evident through the agreement reached one day before the new announcement on the changes was made and through the visit the new Algerian foreign minister Ramtane Lamamra made to France one day before the new decisions were taken.

The appointment of Ramtane Lamamra was designed to please France, whereas Badaoui has been groomed by America and he is a puppet in the hands of Bouteflika’s brothers Saeed and Nasser. Moreover, America has dug up Lakhdar Brahimi from the political archives to head the transitional “national conference” expected to be formed in the forthcoming days.

Brahimi met Bouteflika today (11 March) under the guise of inquiring about his health. Following the meeting, Brahimi was quoted as saying that a “new constructive phase will soon begin to tackle several of our problems”. He urged everyone to “continue dealing with one another with this kind of responsibility and mutual respect and to turn this crisis into an opportunity for building and development.”

Finally, we can safely say that the ruling cabal in Algeria has staged a constitutional coup against the demands of the masses regardless of whether these amendments were a codified foisting of the fifth term or a deceitful extension of the fourth term. In any case, this secularist ruling cabal has evidenced the extent of its grovelling to the colonialist Kuffar and its eagerness to safeguard their interests; it is nothing but a domestic extension of the international custodianship’s system hell-bent on preserving the status quo even if it entailed undertaking cosmetic changes to stimulate the imagination of the masses favourably without however undermining the prototype of their colonialism.

5 Rajab 1440h
11 March 2019