Protests in Algeria against the endless power mechanisms of President Bouteflika
Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Major demonstrations have taken place in Algiers and other parts of Algeria based on the endless power mechanisms of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. This comes after it was confirmed that the ailing 81-year-old seeks to remain in power despite ill health. Therefore, many Algerians took to the streets and demonstrated against the ruling political elites who are being blamed for stifling this nation.
The New York Times quotes Nacer Djabi, an author and sociology Professor, who pointedly says, “You can see it today. There are millions of people, and it’s all over the country. People have seen this candidacy as a provocation, and a humiliation. He doesn’t represent Algeria anymore, inside our outside the country. People don’t see how a president that sick can run Algeria.”
This is based on the president being blighted by health issues since 2005 and who is seldom seen in public to any major degree in recent times. Indeed, his stroke in 2013 left Bouteflika with debilitating consequences. Hence, many in Algeria feel disillusioned by the political process and given the Islamist angle to a past brutal civil war, then this is worrying some people in the ruling party.
The BBC reports, “Mr Bouteflika came to power in 1999 and is credited with putting an end to a civil war that is estimated to have killed more than 100,000 people.”
Of course, the Islamist and violent scar of the civil war meant that many people sought security and moderation. In this sense, the political elites who were restricting society were tolerated based on the brutal bloodletting of the civil war that made this period a living hell for many Algerians. However, with the ruling elites still maintaining the power of Bouteflika despite his deteriorating health, then this is too much for many Algerians.
It remains to be seen if internal political changes will take place inside the ruling elites, in order to mollify the enormous demonstrations taking place throughout the country. Either way, divisions in society are set to deepen if not action is taken. Therefore, the omens seem to point in the direction of more challenges to the power concentration of the ruling elites.
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