Egypt participates in Ukraine International Travel, Tourism Exhibition    139 Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza    Palestinian under attack in 73rd anniversary of Nakba Day    Egypt's Health Ministry launches awareness campaigns against COVID-19    Egypt partakes in drafting OECD Recommendations on AI    Palestine's Telecom Ministry names top social media supportive hashtags for maximum engagement    Egypt fines mobile operators EGP 20m for number portability violations    Sudan pledges to investigate killing of 2 protestors during peaceful sit-in    Grand Egyptian Museum finishes installing Tutankhamun's 3rd shrine    Egypt discovers several ancient tombs in Sohag's Al-Hamdiya necropolis    Egypt scales up readiness of hospitals nationwide for Eid Al-Fitr holidays    Egyptian hospitals in Sinai on alert amid Israeli aggression on Gaza    Egypt announces Thursday 1st day of Eid Al-Fitr    Nuweiba: Egypt's paradise of serenity    Egypt's current account deficit jumps to $7.6 bln in 1H of FY2020/21: CBE    Egypt's trade deficit down 1.2% to $3.34bn in February 2021: CAPMAS    Global economic recovery to improve debt service coverage ratios: Moody's    Egypt's Parliament discusses abolishing imprisonment for female debtors    India signs an agreement to buy 300,000 doses of Remdesivir from Eva Pharma    Egypt will locally manufacture first 2m Sinovac vaccine doses by June-end    2021 South East European Film Festival celebrates cinematic diversity of 18 countries    Turkey seeks to restore 'historic unity' with Egyptian people: Erdogan    Elneny's Arsenal targets 'remontada' in Europa League semi-finals    Zamalek eye return to victories at expense of Smouha in Egyptian Premier League    Al Ahly face injuries as they take on Al Ittihad Alexandria    Egypt buys 30 Rafale fighter jets from France    Direct flights between Russia and Egypt will resume in June, Ambassador    Egypt's Ahly is establishing a new stadium, expected to be 'sports complex'    Blinken presses Ethiopia's Abiy to ensure full withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray    Forces opposed to Somali president control parts of Mogadishu    Nine people executed in Egypt over Kerdasa police killings in 2013    UEFA investigating Ibrahimovic's alleged ties to betting company    61 doctors died from coronavirus since start of April: Egypt's medical syndicate    Egypt targets 5.6% inflation rate in FY2020/21, 6% in FY2021/22    Egypt allocates EGP 132 bln to modernise railway system: Transport minister    Real Madrid not thinking about any Super League sanctions: Zidane    Total declares force majeure on Mozambique LNG after attacks    All the winners at the 93rd Academy Awards    Egypt's Ahly granted approval to build new stadium on Cairo outskirts    Aswan Int'l Women's Film Festival dedicates 5th edition to Kawthar Heikal    BREAKING: Egypt's information minister Osama Heikal resigns amid parliamentary criticism    'War was not Egypt's aim, but peace was the ultimate goal,' Sisi says on Sinai Liberation Day anniversary    Factbox: Key nominations for the 2021 Academy Awards    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    Veteran Egyptian journalist Makram Mohamed Ahmed passes away at 86    Allianz Egypt partners with IGNITE to equip brand ambassadors for 2021 Olympics    Hassan Allam consortium wins contract to manage, operate Grand Egyptian Museum    Seasoned Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed dies at 76    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





Electoral ambiguity in Algeria
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 17 - 01 - 2019

Algerian President Abdel-Aziz Bouteflika has called for presidential elections to be held on 18 April in line with the country's constitution and elections law, putting to rest rumours among the Algerian public about their possible postponement.
The contenders have until early March to register for the race. Over the past year debate has been rife about whether Bouteflika will run for a fifth term in office, especially as he has made it a habit to announce his participation at the last minute.
The Algerian Islamist parties have called for postponing the elections and extending Bouteflika's current term, which ends on 28 April, for a year or more because of his health and to give Algeria the chance to arrive at a “consensus” over the coming phase.
The 81-year-old president had a stroke in 2013 that left him in a wheelchair. He has rarely been seen in public since.
Bouteflika's opponents say that Algeria's longest-serving president is not in a fit state to rule, though his supporters say that despite his physical illness his mental powers make him fit to stay at the helm.
Algeria's ruling parties, official labour unions and business associations, as well as military figures, have already called upon Bouteflika to run in the elections.
Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, leader of the Democratic National Rally that is in alliance with the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN), said he would not seek the presidency if Bouteflika decided to participate in the elections.
Ouyahia is not the only politician to adopt such a position, and other prominent figures are also concealing their intentions until Bouteflika's decision has been announced. Most, if not all, of them will refuse to contest the elections if the president opts to run again.
Bouteflika is widely respected in Algeria because of his leading role in ending the civil war that claimed the lives of some 200,000 Algerians in the 1990s.
However, in a famous 2012 speech Bouteflika said he would soon give up power. “For my generation, it's game over,” he told a room full of young people on this occasion, but Algeria has not seen his words materialise.
In 1991, the army leadership cancelled the results of the first round of the country's legislative elections in which the Islamic Salvation Front was the winner. Bouteflika returned from Switzerland in 1991 to contest the presidential elections with a campaign of “civil concord” and a Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation intended to end the civil conflict and pardon those who had taken up weapons against the state.
The charter received the approval of 97 per cent of Algerians in a 2006 referendum, granting Bouteflika a legitimacy and popularity that was unprecedented in the country's history since independence.
He is likely to win a fifth term if he runs in this year's elections, mainly due to the division of the opposition between the Islamists and the nationalists and because the Movement for the Society of Peace, an Islamist party with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, has said it will boycott the elections if Bouteflika announces his intention to run.
However, Bouteflika has also repeatedly called on more contenders to contest the presidential elections. In the past four races he won with high percentages of the vote, scoring 82 per cent of the votes cast in 2014, 90 per cent in 2009, 85 per cent in 2004 and 74 per cent in 1999.
More than half of the Algerian population is now less than 30 years old, which means more than 50 per cent of people have no memory of the golden age of the FLN, of which Bouteflika is a main icon.
Bouteflika joined the ranks of the FLN in 1956 at the age of 19, and he later became one of its leaders. He was appointed minister of sports and tourism when Algeria gained its independence from France in 1962. A year later he became foreign minister, contributing to the overthrow of Algeria's first post-independence president, Ahmed ben Bella.
Houari Boumediene succeeded Ben Bella by assuming the presidency of the country's ruling revolutionary council.
When Boumediene died in 1978, Bouteflika, still foreign minister, chose to go into exile and did not return permanently to the country until 1999 to contest the presidential elections.
For two decades, he has promoted the use of the country's oil and gas revenues to construct transportation, water and infrastructure projects. However, Algeria's economy remains dependent on oil and gas revenues, which constitute 60 per cent of the government budget and 95 per cent of revenues from imports.
Despite all the construction going on across the country, unemployment remains high among Algeria's youth.
Yet, Algeria is slowly advancing towards liberalising its economy, according to international reports. Throughout its independent history, the country has had a centrally planned economy within a state socialist system, the foundations of which were laid down during Boumediene's time.
Algeria saw a period of exceptional industrial development in the 1960s and 1970s, which only came to a halt in the 1980s during the rule of president Chadli Bendjedid (1978-1991).
However, despite international calls to do so, Bouteflika has not speeded up steps to liberalise the economy and has preferred to depend instead on what he has termed the second “oil surplus”.
The president's supporters claim that the slow economic liberalisation is the result of Bouteflika's rise at a time when the country was mired in civil war and society needed the government's support to overcome the crisis.
The country has used its oil revenues to construct major projects in the capital and other cities in order to provide jobs when oil revenues decrease, as was the case between 2014 and 2017.
Many in Algeria believe that the country's political leaders and their close relations in business circles are standing in the way of opening the door to foreign investments.
This group often recounts Algeria's cruel past under French colonial rule, lasting more than 130 years, during which more than 1.5 million Algerians were killed in addition to the martyrs of the revolution to gain independence from France.


Clic here to read the story from its source.