Politics & Economics

Algeria: Newly Elected President Faces Popular Opposition

North Africa

Following the election of Abdelmadjid Tebboune as President of Algeria, demonstrators have continued to protest the political status quo.

“No to marginalisation and exclusion, and together for the sake of unity. I also renew my commitment once again to young people, to always side with them. Through them, I turn to the Hirak movement and extend my hand for serious dialogue for the sake of Algeria”. These were one of the first words stated the newly elected President of Algeria, Abdulmedjid Tabboune.

The presidential elections that took place on 12 December, which led to the election of Abdulmedjid Tabboune, brought the lowest turnout, as was predicted beforehand, in election history in Algeria, with only approximately 40% of the electorate participating, according to official statistics. It is claimed that the actual figure may be even lower.

The announcement of the election results were met by further protests in the country, where demonstrations opposing the elections had been ongoing for weeks. Protesters see the election of Tabboune as a continuation of the political status quo in Algeria, despite the forced resignation of long-standing head of state Abduleziz Bouteflika in April.

A large proportion of Algerians hoped to see structural and radical changes to the political establishment following the departure of Bouteflika. However, the status quo has been largely maintained by the predominantly military elite that has taken over the transition government and imposed elections despite the popular protests.

” The street rejected the electoral process in advance and today rejects its results. The popular movement (Hirak) continues and openly calls for a break with the regime, along with its practices and figures”, expressed a protester on the streets of the capital Algiers.

The lack of popular legitimacy enjoyed by Tabboune leaves him an extremely difficult, and perhaps impossible tasks of harmonising the interests of the political, military and business elites with those of the protesters on the streets, who demand a complete break from the past.