The legislative elections next month in Algeria will have consequences at home and in the greater Maghreb.
The fierce competition looming in Algeria follows the amazingly quick fall of three systems in other North African countries: Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Morocco also witnessed social activities that took a political dimension, although the movement lost strength, influence and impact.
The Algerian elections come at a time when the entire region is in turmoil and instability following the “Arab Spring”. The events toppled authoritarian regimes but also left tens of thousands of victims on the ground and utterly destroyed fragile economies.
Algeria too witnessed important movements and protests in the past year. These actions stopped just as masses began moving in other Arab countries.
Algeria found itself an island of peace and stability in an ocean of turmoil and demonstrations.
The respite in Algeria, however, ended with the attempted coup in Mali and the ensuing territorial gains by Touareg separatists and Islamic terrorist organisations. These recent events constitute a direct threat to the security of Algeria.
“The Syrian lesson” requires all Algerian parties that seek the best for the country, from government to civil society, to bear full responsibility for their future.
The legislative elections offer a unique opportunity – maybe the last – to create a historic shift that reconciles Algerian authorities with the people and accomplishes a fundamental change in government itself.
This change should modify the role of the military within the state and keep it within that scope. It should also disengage military leaders from the economic sector. In addition, it should make profound adjustments to the structures of the state and take bold action to improve social conditions.
Furthermore, it must disengage from the use and exploitation of regional and tribal sensitivities, and accelerate the organisation of normal and democratic relations between the central government and the Amazigh people. This change should further limit the policy of marginalisation of the Kabylie region.
By implementing these inevitable choices, it becomes possible for Algeria to counter any escalation of activity by the advocates of political Islam.
Such parties seek to extend the influence of reactionary and obscurantist political organisations that use religion as a reference and as an excuse to drag the entire region into swamps that do not serve the interests of the country and the people.
Will the democratic and modernist forces in Algeria, with all their currents and variations, be bold enough to unify all those willing to work for an Algeria that remains independent of outside agendas?
As the election approaches, the question must be raised: are Algerians aware of their stake in their state, people and land?
The answer will come in the next few weeks.
Political observers are suggesting the possibility of a win by… more
Algeria is about to experience an election like no other.… more
The elections slated for May 10th in Algeria are raising… more
Some believe that a victory of Islamist parties in Algeria… more