Politics & Economics

Algeria: Inauguration of New President Abdelmadjid Tebboune

North Africa

A week after the presidential elections on 12 December in Algeria, Abdelmedjid Tebboune has been officially inaugurated as President.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune was elected as President of Algeria in the first elections since the forced resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika back in April following a series of anti-government protests. Tebboune won 58.13% of the vote on 12 December and his inauguration ceremony has taken place one week on from the presidential elections.

Nevertheless, this does not tell the whole story behind the elections in Algeria. The lead-up to the elections was by and large dominated by continuous demonstrations protesting against the holding of elections, which had been announced by the interim president in September.

The protest movement, commonly known as “Hirak”, opposed the political conditions in which the elections were being organised. The interim government has been dominated by military figures, led by Abdelkader Bensalah. Although the military establishment stated that it would not interfere in the elections and would not back any candidate, protesters were extremely weary of these statements, especially since the establishment was overly keen to push for the elections.

Indeed, the final candidates who were approved to take part in the presidential elections were all in one way or another linked to the former regime, having all held posts in previous governments under the presidency of Bouteflika. Tebboune was one of these approved candidates and he eventually took the largest share of the spoils.

The elections themselves arose little enthusiasm among the Algeria public. The official turnout amounted to just under 40%, which marks the lowest turnout for any election in the country’s history. It is claimed that the actual proportion of people who voted is lower than that figure.

Protests broke out immediately the day after the results of the election were announced. Tebboune has stated that he is eager to enter a dialogue with the protest movement to in order to reach compromises in the name of a united Algeria. Protesters are nevertheless skeptical of a political figure who, in their eyes, represents a continuation of the political status quo.