Politics & Economics

Algerian Activists Criticise Government’s Decision to Hold Elections

North Africa

Prominent figures in Algerian society have together released a statement in which they criticise the government's insistence on organising elections for this years.

Protests have continued in Algeria aimed at criticising the government’s decision to hold elections this year for the first time in the country since the resignation of former President Abduleziz Bouteflika. Protesters have accused the government, which is heavily influenced by military figures, of putting up structural barriers to the flourishing of free and fair elections as well as the development of democracy in the country.

19 politicians issued a statement in which they mentioned the conditions needed for a free and transparent presidential election, including:

– The departure of all symbols of the regime and the elimination of corruption.

– The unconditional release of prisoners of conscience and movement activists.

– Respect the right to demonstrate and not restrict freedom of expression and political action and lift the siege on the capital.

– Stop illegal arrests against political activists.

– Invite all parties to a serious and responsible dialogue table.

Aside from criticisms directed at the government with regards to the holding of elections this year, protests have been taking place recently against the decision to allow foreign companies to extract and profit from oil and gas in Algeria. Demonstrations filled the streets of central Algeirs with placards stating that the government has “sold the country”. Hundreds of people came out to protests the changes in the law with regards to hydrocarbons despite the heavy police presence on the streets.

Protests have been continuing in Algeria despite warnings given by the government that it will prevent any attempts to block the elections in December. It has announced that it is making security preparations in anticipation of further demonstrations that have been ongoing in the country since February, as a result of which the former President Abduleziz Bouteflika resigned from his presidency in April of this year.

Demonstrations have nevertheless deflated in size over the past few weeks, although the momentum is still being preserved in the lead up to the elections in two months.