Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The promised “new Algeria”, a lure


monday, 22 february, 2021 at 11:38

– Par Mahmoud El Kali -.
Algiers – Two years after being the wisp of the spontaneous “Hirak” protest movement, hundreds of thousands of Algerians still feel frustrated, betrayed and disenchanted by a system that is at the root of all their ills.

Almost nothing has changed. To make their aspirations effective, they were offered ersatz, a duplication of the old system and a trompe l’oeil change of the political class, decried as corrupt with in addition a presidential election that the demonstrators did not hesitate to shout that it is “tainted with fraud at the instigation of the military”.

The thousands of demonstrators who marched on February 15 in Kherrata, (300 km east of Algiers), cradle of the Algerian protest movement, despite the ban on demonstrating since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic , especially expressed the great discomfort and despair that never ceases to haunt them.

Brahim Laalami was unable to take part in the Hirak’s second anniversary. However, he was one of the first to take to the streets, on February 14, 2019, to express the refusal of the candidacy for a fifth term of the deposed president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, rendered impotent by a stroke and released by the army.

This spontaneous mobilization brought together on February 16, 2019 thousands of Algerians opposed to Bouteflika’s fifth term. A week later, on February 22, the protest had won Algiers, then the rest of the country, giving rise to an unprecedented popular movement, demanding “the dismantling of the system” in place since the independence of Algeria in 1962.

Two years later, the promised “new Algeria” is slow to be born. Bouteflika’s never stops dying. Hirak militants do not intend to give up or give up the struggle.

It is clear that this anniversary occurs in a climate of tension in the regime, faced with a political, health and socio-economic crisis. A crisis which clearly attests that President Tebboune has not succeeded in reversing the tides and sparing his country the horrors of an institutional crisis and an economy showing advanced signs of dysfunction.

This means that despite the dead end in which the regime finds itself stuck and the great fears of the authorities, the Hirak marches, at a standstill since March 2020, have multiplied as this second anniversary approaches, especially in Kabylia (north-east).

On February 15, to mark the 2nd anniversary of the Kherrata march, thousands of demonstrators including several politicians took part, former prisoners of conscience as well.

Some emblematic figures of the protest movement have not mince their words, such as Karim Tabbou for whom “the time has come for this corrupt system to come out”.

Others expressed their wish “to build a new Algeria: human rights, freedoms and the rule of law”.

To the calls for democracy are now added socio-economic demands in a country where the economy is dependent on hydrocarbons and which sees its foreign exchange reserves wither.

Having come to power on December 12, 2019 with the desire to embody “the new Algeria”, President Tebboune is constantly the target of human rights defenders who denounce a systematic repression against opponents, independent media and bloggers.

At the level of the almost general ball is added a deep questioning. But where is the country going? “Right in the wall”, if the regime “does not take into account the expectations of the population and the political class”, affirms the daily “Liberté”.

To get out of this mess, the Algerian president will try to play the card of early legislative and local elections to prove that he is taking matters into his own hands and that he remains faithful to his roadmap.

The Rassemblement pour la Culture et la Démocratie (RCD) notes, for its part, that “the leaders who find themselves at an impasse are proposing pseudo-elections discredited by the illegitimate nature of the power in place”.

Cautious, the authorities seek somehow to short-circuit the return of the Hirak and torpedo any political solution that would get the country out of this trap.

Could the updating of the roadmap with the corollary of the organization of early legislative and local elections silence the dispute and especially this devouring ambition which drives thousands of Algerians to mark a real break with the? ‘old system? The answer is quite simply NO and the future will show us that.



#promised #Algeria #lure

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