Algeria celebrated its 60th anniversary of independence on 5 July. What rating? And what to celebrate? Overall, to begin with this observation of policy: Fundamentally, this country is not a democracy – as it stands, there is no possibility of becoming one. Why?
Because the military occupies a historical and political center. In August 1956, an issue already raised in the Soumam Congress was supported by Abane Ramthane, one of the leaders who was then defending the primacy of politics – who was assassinated a few months later.
With independence, the contradictions would intensify: they would permanently shape the Algerian regime. The Border Army – led by Colonel Boumedi, and headquartered in Cordoba (Tunisia) – formed an alliance with Ahmed Ben Bella – one of the five historic leaders arrested in October 1956 on a Moroccan flight from Rabat to Tunis. The Provisional Government of the Republic of Algeria (GPRA) was dissolved. A military junta led by Colonel Boumedean marches on Algiers and seizes power. President of the new National Assembly, Berhad Abbas, who headed the GPRA before ceding the seat to Benyusef Pengada, took office in May 1963. The FLN declared itself a party on the same date. Hocine Aît Ahmed’s FFS is banned and rises in Kabylia; Mohamed Boudiaf’s PRS – both arrested. The FLN Congress and government have the weight and influence of the military and those close to Boumediene (Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Cherif Belkacem, Ahmed Medeghri, Kaïd Ahmed, etc.).
The military seized power on June 19, 1965, claiming the personal authority of Ben Bella, president since September 1963. Since then, it has been at the center of power, as evidenced by the trend of recent years. Contrary to what might be advanced here and there, she gave nothing away in this matter, the real power “behind an institutional facade, even as a pluralist, was in her hands after the events of October 1988 in Algiers. It should be added. The dark decade against Islamic terrorism (1992-2000) resulted in more than 200,000 deaths. It was repoliticized in the dark decade that ensued. It was the same army that installed Bouteflika as head of state in 1999. Five years ago… he was overthrown by generals, who ordered him to resign “with immediate effect” two years ago, on April 2, 2019. Hiraq, who was launched on February 22 of the same year won his case, but partly the feeling that he was demanding a “civilian power”… His successor, Abdelmadjid Debon, who was elected in December, was chosen by the military. He officially got 58% in the first round – a widely disputed figure – and 41 votes. % of cubes
With the new amended constitution of November 1, 2020, the military no longer wants to limit itself to being a “real force”; It dedicates its place and its role by entrusting itself with the task of protecting the “vital and strategic interests of the country” (Article 30, paragraph 4). The July 5, 2022 anniversary celebrations clearly demonstrated the military’s embodiment and mission of Algeria beyond public and partisan institutions.
Finally, what is the functional account of this regime today? Partisan pluralism is strongly linked to parties that are banned, others are suppressed and ultimately relegated to a metaphor that deceives no one. In January 2022 alone, the authorities suspended the Socialist Workers Party (PSD), and threatened the two Union for Change and Progress (UCP) and the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD). . Also, the coordinator of the Movement for Democracy and Socialism (MDS) was sentenced to two years in prison. Rassemblement Actions Jeunesse (RAJ) – an association known to civil society – was dissolved for “organizing actions inconsistent with its laws”.
Repression is a sign of rule
The identity of this dish? Nothing but oppression. It escalated after the fall of Bouteflika in April 2019, under the tenure of former army chief Ahmed Caid Salah, before El Mouradiya entered the palace. It does not seem to be a rest after that: so far from it. A good hundred prisoners linked to Hirak are still being held after a July 5 presidential pardon and “inside pacification measures”. But according to the Committee for the Release of Prisoners of Conscience (CNLD), “more than 300 prisoners of conscience have been in prison for months”. A “unifying president” slogan pushed by the royal campaign? Optical illusion. Algerian power is in fact regularly questioned by NGOs, which denounce repression, detention of prisoners of conscience and its conditions. On April 24, activist Hakim Debassi, jailed for a post on Facebook, died in an Algiers hospital. If the record of rule of law, democracy and freedom is a real disaster, ranking Algeria last in international rankings, then social reforms should also be listed as this country’s responsibilities. What is Algerian identity today? Should it be limited to Islam and Arabism? Shouldn’t Algeria have an Algerian identity? This raises the issue of the Tamasite language being consecrated as a national and official language in 2016, but without translation in the school curriculum or administration.
But there is more. Thus the Algiers regime did not make any reforms regarding the status of women. This is a historical fact established over six decades. Women’s rights should evolve. Democratic renewal cannot be accompanied by an unequal family code that does not take gender equality into account in public policies. The position of women is submission and this in many ways – divorce, protection of children. Is it necessary to recall that the HIRAQ movement saw mass mobilization and grafting of militant women? Nothing is resolved in Algeria today, as it is true that the social and protest movement is, at present, bubbling, resurgent and capable of repolarization. A future still to be drawn, no doubt, revives another social project: freedom and its many institutional and political variants. People with long walks…