Politics & Economics

Civil society groups in Algeria call for democratic transition

North Africa

In the aftermath of Bouteflika's resignation, civic organisations in Algeria are keen to accelerate the processes of dialogue and democratic transition.

Civil society organisations played a vital role in preventing Abdelaziz Bouteflika from prolonging his reign as President of Algeria this year and they are now active in the process of the democratic transition of power. Activists from a variety of civil society groups have gathered to voice their demands for free and fair elections and  with regards to their imagined transition to democracy.

There is a dire need for a transitional period and we have come today with the problems of workers in the General Assemblies. Workers are keen to form a legitimate government elected by the people with integrity, transparency, and democracy”, said Nadia Jadour, a member of the Independent National Association for Workers called “Snap Up”.

Three civil society organisations were mainly involved in this initiative, including the Free Trade Union Alliance, the National Forum for Change, and the Civil Society Coalition. The Civil Society Coalition includes many associations and human rights organisations, which called for what it described as the acceleration of a smooth democratic transition in accordance with electoral rules away from tyranny and corruption.

Military figures have been vocal in their calls for a quick election in Algeria. Ahmed Gaid Salah, an influential military official stated that he and his cadre are keen to crack down on “the scourge of corruption” and push through political dialogue that will lead to elections.

Certain segments of Algerian society are however weary of the consequences that a swift democratic transition would have, as memories of the Algerian Civil War in the 1990s remain strong. The Civil War had broken out following the rejection of the electoral victory of Islamists in Algeria which culminated in a military coup.

Similar events have taken place in Egypt where Islamist Muhammad Mursi was elected as President following the Tahrir protests, after which he was nevertheless ousted by the military and replaced by Abdel Fateh al-Sisi, leading to the failure of the democratic process in that country.