Algeria: an empty election

Demonstration in Algiers, 18 October. RAMZI BOUDINA / REUTERS
Demonstration in Algiers, 18 October. RAMZI BOUDINA / REUTERS

While the presidential election of December 12 should have been the culmination of a democratic transition, the vote takes on a parody. Will Algeria succeed in turning the page of authoritarianism in a peaceful way? For a country that has often advanced in violent jolts, the challenge is immense and the historic opportunity. For the past eight months, non-violent demonstrations have been multiplying against the power set up twenty years ago by Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the deposed president. Of this one remain today only tinsel whose representatives are impotent to understand the meaning of the history and to apprehend the aspirations of a population exceeded by the infelicity in which the regime plunged Algeria.

The presidential election of December 12 should have been the culmination of the democratic process. The way the ballot is organized does not create the conditions for a real, legitimate and transparent transition to a comprehensive political agreement.

The bureaucracy and lobbies in power still have enough influence to try to maintain the existing backward of the demands of the street. The old reflexes remain the same, even if the popular pressure has forced the system to adapt its speech. But in a climate of general distrust of power, it has become inaudible.

Instead of drawing inspiration from the Hirak echo, the popular movement, in an attempt to give new prospects to an Algeria that is lacking so much, the army, now in the front line, seeks only to neutralize it. Wanting to perpetuate a system that has failed and against which Algerians are now vaccinated will only serve to radicalize discontent.

The upcoming election takes on the appearance of a democratic parody, in which the ex-ministers of the outgoing president pretend to participate in a competition that has only one goal: to bring out a personality of the seraglio so that nothing really changes. As long as the press is under constant pressure to spread the good word of power, as long as arbitrary arrests and exceptional justice continue, as long as the current government will not allow the electoral process to proceed freely, the conditions for the appointment of a new legitimate president will not be met.

In this context, the December 12 poll is likely to end in an empty election with a ridiculously low voter turnout. The new elected will be weakened, making the country ungovernable.

What makes the strength of this movement is that it is not a social revolt or categorical throwing in the street part of the Algerians against another. It is a momentum that mixes young and old, popular and better-off classes. Faced with this mass and diversity, power will have the greatest difficulty playing the division to maintain an illusory status quo.

If the proponents of the system imagine that a return to the ante situation is still possible, they are mistaken heavily. Algerians have not been demonstrating for eight months to obtain reforms at the margin with those who led them to the current situation. The vast majority demand a redistribution of national wealth, wants to put the sovereignty of the people at the center of political life and intends to take back in hand his destiny that a clan has confiscated for too long. At this stage, the December 12 vote is not up to this aspiration and will only complicate the democratic transition.

0 komentar:

Post a Comment