Algeria: is there a power void?

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In the last two weeks, Algeria has experienced big protests in the streets against the fifth consecutive nomination of the current president Abdelaziz Buteflika

Algeria: is there a power void?

Algeria's empty chair?

According to DW, the protests in the streets of Algeria started because the current president of this country, Abdelaziz Buteflika , intends to perpetuate himself in power once again. However, the problem lies in the fact that the president has not presented himself since 2013, in public after a cardio-vascular accident.

Following this, and as exposed by the BBC, the Algerian youth were very happy because, days ago, the president had resigned a fifth candidacy. However, this was only a palliative, because from Switzerland a letter was sent announcing the nomination of Buteflika for this year's elections.

Why is he in Switzerland? Well, due to his health condition, Buteflika has traveled frequently to Switzerland for medical check-ups.

The most problematic situation is that, as DW explained, some people opposed to the regime have seen all this as a power void. For example, the president of the Workers' Party, Louisa Hanoun, expressed her disbelief about the statements sent from Switzerland; her words were: "I doubt that Buteflika is the author of the letter and I ask that the "state of incapacity of the president" to be declared".

With this same position, the Social Movement for Peace party asked the young people to continue protesting in the streets, since this governmental situation is unacceptable.


People in the streets

Thousands of people have gathered in the center of Algiers to protest against another Buteflika term. As reported by EuroNews, in the streets you could hear the voices of young people shouting "murderous power".

Why are young people taking the streets? The BBC explained that the protests are not just a reaction to a new candidacy, but because Algerian society in general is tired of the current situation in the country.

For example, there is a 30% unemployment among people under 30, that is, a large part of the young population of Algeria. Because of this, most of the protests are made up of young people and students.

On the other hand, the authorities' response to the protests has been moderate. As explained in this same English media, some protests were repressed with tear gas, although, in most cases, the popular demonstrations have passed without any inconvenience.

Read also: 3 keys to understanding the Indo-Pakistani conflict

Beyond the elections

Media such as DW, the BBC and Le Monde have explained that these protests had not occurred before due to the rise in oil prices, which in any case had Algeria in economic stability.

However, the power void has not been the only problem in which the current government has been involved. As explained by the BBC, several high officials were involved in cases of drug trafficking, to the point of having a container with more than 600 kg of cocaine.

In addition, as if that were not enough, several years ago, in 2008, Butaflika managed to change the Algerian constitution to be re-elected for more than two terms.

This president began his career in the 1999 presidential elections, since then he has been president, even if his party, the National Liberation Front, was the movement that propelled the independence of Algeria in 1962 against the French.


LatinAmerican Post | Miguel Díaz

Translated from "Argelia: ¿hay un vacío de poder?