Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Algeria: “The objective of the regime is to calm the protest” (Political scientist)


monday, 22 february, 2021 at 17:39

Paris – The recent announcements and political decisions in Algeria are part of a strategy aimed at stifling the popular protest movement, the Hirak; but the Algerians are not fooled and that will not prevent them from continuing to go out in the street, affirms Farida Souiah, political scientist, researcher associated with the Mediterranean Laboratory of sociology of the University Aix-Marseille.

The regime’s announcements are “quite spectacular” (dissolution of Parliament, ministerial reshuffle, release of some Hirak detainees, etc.). But, “I think that one of the first objectives is to calm the protest”, while the Algerians commemorate the 2nd anniversary of Hirak, underlines Farida Souiah, doctor in political science from CERI Sciences Po, in an interview at the site of West-France information.

However, she assures, “this attempt by the regime will not prevent Algerians from going out into the streets. No one is fooled ”.

And to explain that “in the contemporary history of Algeria, reform of political liberalization is not equivalent to democratization. These are measures that act as a safety valve to try to lower the pressure and maintain the speed ”.

Regarding the reform of the Constitution, the expert considers that “the political regime seeks a kind of popular assent. However, the reform of the Constitution was passed with a very low turnout, around 23%. Moreover, sometimes, certain points of a Constitution are not implemented or are modified afterwards ”.

“Algeria has already had the limitation of two presidential terms. That did not prevent Bouteflika from doing four (however). As such, it is not a guarantee of democracy, ”she said.

Asked to explain why the Hirak did not lead to a “structuring”, the political scientist underlines that indeed “many people criticize the Hirak for not having structured itself, but there are reasons for this: in a country where there has been so much capture of legitimacy, it is not easy to trust political leaders. As for the possibility of presenting candidates, this would, for some activists, give credibility to the process when the election is already half lost ”.

For the time being, she decrypts, “the regime has adapted to this reality of popular and massive protest. Many strategies are implemented to regain control. The Algerian president’s speech is one of them ”.

Nevertheless, underlines the political scientist, “an undeniable achievement” of this Hirak will have been “a recovery of the public space and the capacity to mobilize”.

The Hirak came to deny those who claimed that “Algerians were politically apathetic,” she concluded.



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