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Algeria: When Frustration Turns To Fury


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March 4, 2020:

There is a new president and so far he has been doing things protestors have demanded for over a year. Most Algerians opposed the recently replaced interim military government and its decision to hold presidential elections on December 12th. This was not an instant disaster because the candidate elected, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, a former prime minister, formed his new government by appointing new government ministers that most protesters approved of, or could not criticize. None of the new ministers had opposed the weekly protests. Tebboune has also met with protest leaders and simultaneously organized an effort to create a new constitution that would make it more difficult for he, or any future president, to again become a corrupt “president-for-life”. The new president, as a former senior official himself, knows that there are many senior people in the government, military and business community who oppose such changes. Such opposition has to be expressed quietly but it is still there and it will be a year or more before it will be clear if a new, dictator-proof, constitution is possible or not.

Most Algerians felt that rushing elections favored the election of another corrupt politician who would act like all the previous ones. In other words there would be a few token prosecutions for corruption but the majority of the corrupt bureaucrats and business owners would return to their outlaw ways. That does not appear to be happening and one reason or that is that 70 percent of the Algerian unemployed are job-seekers in their late teens and 20s. Many have never been able to get a job. The unemployment rate is about 15 percent, up from the 12 percent is was stuck at for several years. The weekly nationwide protests have been going on for a year now and it is clear that Algerians could turn to violence if they feel they have exhausted peaceful options. Military leaders point out that many of the young troops identify with their many unemployed contemporaries. So far there have not been any shift to violence and so far the new president is keeping the peace but eventually frustration turns to fury and the situation gets nasty.

The opposition to the presidential race was active but not violent........................(Snip)

There are other threats that have remained out of sight during the election crises. This includes Islamic terrorists, who continue to regard Algeria as unsafe for them and stay away or, in in the country, stay out of sight. That means more of these Islamic terrorists move north via Libya. That is still a problem for Algeria, especially because the Libyan civil war, which seemed almost over has now been extended with the intervention of Turkey to support the weaker side that relied on Islamic radical and Islamic conservative groups for its support. All this is not an immediate problem for Algeria, but will be eventually.


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