Hundreds of thousands of Algerians marched on the street to appeal for democracy, people’s right and people vote. The protest has been going on over the last 11 weeks. Algerian protested against the contentious political order and economic systems, which are believed to have long been under the elite’s control.
The protest started after the country’s leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced that he intended to run for another presidency term but he has been in office for 20 years, which is the longest presidency service so far for the country. He has resigned on 2nd of April due to mass demands but the Algerian protest is still ongoing. Traditional power remain in political bodies and economic groups; for example, Algerian people have diminishing access to the workplace of hydrocarbon industry, which Algeria’s economy heavily relies on but is believed to be corrupted. Algerian people now ask for a democratic reform and economic opportunities.
(photo credit to: Oriental View)
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROTEST
Algerian protest is believed to be affected by Arab Spring, which then has been causing some countries in middle east and north Africa to overthrow dictatorship. Algeria was independent from France in 1962 but since then Algerian regime has long been controlled by “Le Pouvoir” who is a group of political elites making decisions on the country’s policy, military and economy. The former president Bouteflika can take the office for such a long time as it dates back to 2008 when a constitutional amendment was made to remove the limitation of presidency service. The politics is believed by Algerian to be corrupted further evidenced with the high rate of unemployment and languish economic growth; hence, Algerian people put forward their requests on the streets.
The interim president, Abdelkader Bensalah, elected by the parliament, took office last month and promised to set a national and sovereign commission to secure fair elections. However, the protesters claimed that there should be a removal of the secret political and military power which has been governing the country for a long time. So far, the protest is believed to have led to the disintegration of “Le Pouvoir” as some political figures, businessmen, army leaders are stepping down.
PROBLEMS AND CONCERNS
Currently the protest seems to be slow due to Ramadan but many believe that Algerian’s appeal will not recede. The only problem is probably looking for new solutions to continue pressuring the regime change.
A democracy and liberal economy are what the Algerian people ask for. However, how to conduct a legitimate political power transition is the problem in urgency for Algeria. Dismantling “Le Pouvoir” should be followed by constructive steps so to stabilize the country.
This has not just been Algerian national issue but also an international awareness particularly for Europe. Algeria as a oil production country has not only been powering its own economy but also serving Europe’s interest and hope to diminish dependence on Russia. Algeria’s stable oil production now relies on a stable regime so to keep functioning.
ICRD holds that Algeria deserves a democracy. Algeria has long been under the secretive political and economic authoritative control and Algerian people should enjoy its vast wealth from oil production with its people-elected governance. Democracy is about people and people’s right. Algerian should gain its right for a democratic political system.