Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Algeria: The Hirak expresses the exasperation of a population that suffocates in a political system opaque to fictitious democratic institutions (Le Monde)


Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 4:30 PM

Paris – The Algerian Hirak, which is celebrating its two years, tenaciously expresses the exasperation of a population that is suffocating in an opaque political system with bogus democratic institutions, of which the military continue to pull the strings, affirms Tuesday the newspaper Le Monde.

“Two years after its outbreak on February 22, 2019, the Hirak, a spontaneous and peaceful protest movement against the Algerian leaders and political system, has a first merit: it remains alive. Witness the mobilization on Monday, despite the repression and the Covid, of thousands of demonstrators shouting “The generals in the trash” or “The people claim independence”, in several cities of the country. But above all, the Hirak tenaciously expresses the exasperation of a population that is suffocating in an opaque political system with artificial democratic institutions, of which the military continue to pull the strings ”, writes the French newspaper in an editorial under the title“ Algeria: break the deadlock after two years of revolt ”.

However, observes Le Monde, “after a year of demonstrations every Friday and another year of sporadic protests, Covid forces, it is clear that the results are mixed”.

“Of course, the Algerians have obtained the departure of President Bouteflika after twenty years of reign. Admittedly, they ridiculed, by abstaining massively, the claim of his successor, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, military candidate elected during a rigged presidential election, to re-legitimize themselves thanks to the constitutional referendum of November 1, 2020. Certainly, the protesters come from ‘obtain, on Thursday February 18, the release of around forty imprisoned activists (…) and the promise, by Mr. Tebboune, of new elections “detached from money and corruption” and leading to “new institutions” . But the vain commitments of the same type repeatedly brandished in the past, the succession of phases of repression and appeasement, which the country has chained since the end of the bloody decade of the 1990s, have brought the country far beyond weariness, a muted anger exacerbated by the inertia of the regime, ”says the newspaper.

According to Le Monde, “the Hirak, a“ disengaging ”movement which calls for a change of regime but has neither a clear program nor a leadership, has not succeeded in forcing the small group of men from the security apparatus to negotiation. and the army which holds the reins of the country. Often denounced, the impasse seems total ”. However, he believes, “Algerian leaders can no longer play the clock forever. The health crisis and the sudden fall in the prices of hydrocarbons undermined the main basis of the regime: its ability to buy social peace thanks to the oil rent which provides 60% of the State’s revenue. Public investment, the main engine of growth, is weakening. Inflation is swelling and the official unemployment rate has reached 15%, not to mention the impact of the crisis on informal employment, which is vital for many ”.

“This time, cosmetic reforms will not be enough”, affirms Le Monde, stressing that “the urgency is for the opening of a real dialogue between the authorities and the oppositions, including representatives of Hirak and of civil society” .

“As the sixtieth anniversary of its independence approaches, on July 5, 2022, it is difficult to see how Algeria, a potentially rich country, could do without a review of its institutions and a national conference” , estimates Le Monde. “The later the sincere engagement of such a process towards a rule of law worthy of the name, towards a real parliamentary control and an independent justice, the more the tensions will increase and the more the price to be paid for the Algerian people risks ‘be heavy,’ the newspaper points out.



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