Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Two years of Hirak in Algeria: political instability, impasse and a weakened government (Argentine news agency)


Buenos Aires – After two years of Hirak in Algeria, political instability persists and the situation is at an impasse, as the Tebboune government is increasingly weakened, the Argentine news agency Total News Agency wrote.

“Algeria commemorates a painful anniversary on Monday. The civil resistance movement known as “Hirak” is celebrating two years of uninterrupted protests against the government, ”said the author of the article, Argentinian expert Adalberto Agozino.

The unrest in the streets did not end, not even with the resignation of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Argentinian media observed, noting that “the rigged elections of December 2019 that led his former minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune to the presidency, the repression and imprisonment of activists and independent journalists or even the travel restrictions imposed on the grounds of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic ”did not discourage the demonstrators.

For the press agency, which quotes the American think tank Middle East Institute in Washington, Algerians “do not believe too much in the promises of reforms emanating from the same actors who have run the country for sixty years”.

The protests began on February 22, 2019 in Kherrata, east of Algiers, before spreading across the country, Mr. Agozino recalls, adding that “the trigger was the announcement that President Bouteflika, then sick and confined in a wheelchair since 2013, will run, in his eighties, candidate for a fifth consecutive term.

But the causes of popular discontent go far beyond the re-election of Bouteflika, and consist in the rejection of a sociopolitical regime in agony which condemns an entire people to live in poverty without any glimmer of hope that the situation could improve, Total News Agency noted.

The paradox, the news agency continues, “is that in a country with a population of over 40 million and an average age of 29, power is in the hands of the same core of leaders who do not have been renewed more since independence ”.

In fact, “the FLN fighters were also those who, from the dawn of independence, in the midst of the Cold War, rejected democracy and established a police, authoritarian and one-party regime, inspired by Soviet ideologies” , lamented the same source.

Which regime, noted Mr. Agozino, “based the country’s development model on the intensive exploitation of its great hydrocarbon resources, oil and gas currently contributing 60% to the state budget and 95%. of total export earnings ”, noting that the Algerian economy depends on these two raw materials with little industrial fabric and with a precarious agriculture which fails to meet the needs of its own population.

“However, as is the case with Chavismo in Venezuela, even the oil industry does not seem to be functioning well. The Algerian government is trying to maintain normal levels of oil and gas supply due to growing domestic demand, while lack of investment in exploration and infrastructure does not allow reserves to be replenished, ”explained the author of the article.

In 2020, the volume of combined oil and gas exports reached 82.2 million tonnes, valued at nearly US $ 20 billion. This figure represents a drop of 40% and 11% respectively compared to 2019. The drop was even more pronounced in 2020 because of the global recession imposed by the pandemic, details the Argentinian media, for whom the improvement in the price of the barrel remains insufficient to boost the economy, because a balance of the Algerian budget depends on an improvement to 130 dollars the price of the barrel.

This is yet another illustration of the rout. “In a world that is slowly but surely turning towards a wider use of clean and renewable energies, the military oligarchy devoid of ideas and cut off from reality, remains indifferent to any change or innovation,” according to Total News Agency, which highlighted structural problems in sectors such as employment, health, which is Africa’s worst, and infrastructure, at a time when military spending is the highest on the continent.

It is for these reasons, concluded the Argentinian news agency, that the Hirak tries to democratize Algeria and to remove from power “a gerontocratic clique” which clings to its positions and its privileges, to the chagrin. rising generations, many of whom have significantly stepped up their protests in recent months to demand the release of political prisoners and a change in the country’s leadership.



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