ALGERIA; AFRICA’S LARGEST COUNTRY WHERE CITIZENS ARE DEMANDING TOTAL REBIRTH OF THEIR COUNTRY’S POLITICAL, LEADERSHIP CONTEXT & RATIONALE

Pre-Independence History

1529- An Ottoman Turkish Admiral one Hayreddin Barbarosa invades and conquers the Hafsid and Zayyanid Berber Dynasties of Algeria capturing the Town of Algiers (Algeria’s Capital City Today) and establishes a new Ottoman Empire Province/Territory. The Ottoman Regency rules this new Province for Three Centuries until 1830 when the Kingdom of France then under King Charles X invades, conquer and capture Algeria from the Ottoman Regency.

France makes Algeria their Colony. The defeat of France Forces by German Forces in 1940’s World War 2 gives Algerian Nationalists Courage to start pushing against France for their Freedom and Independence; The Push gains momentum to become the ‘Algerian War for Independence’ by 1954. Algerian Nationalists led by Ahmed Ben Bella, Mohamed Boudiaf, Mostefa Boulaid, Larbi M’hidi, Rabah Bitat, Mourad Didouche, Hocine Ahmed, Krim Belkacem among others came together to form the ‘National Liberation Front’-FLN that on November 1954 began serious War for Independence backed by the newly Independent Egypt under President Gamal Abdel Nasser who had good relations with the FLN Leader Ahmed Ben Bella.

After a brutal 8-Years War for Independence that according to Algerian Sources led to the Killing of over One Million Algerians; Algeria secured its Freedom and Independence from France on July 5, 1962 ending 132 Years of French Rule. This was formalized by the signing of ‘Evian Accords’ between France and Algeria’s Provisional Government/FLN on March 18, 1962 and a subsequent Independence Referendum of July 1, 1962.

Post-Independence History

A Power struggle within the Provisional FLN Government saw the Army through its Chief Houari Boumedienne intervene backing the Revolutionary FLN Leader Ahmed Ben Bella who then became Algeria’s first President on September 15, 1963. The new FLN Government under President Ben Bella banned Political Opposition and made Algeria a One-Party State immediately after getting into Power.

The Relationship between Army Chief Boumedienne who was also serving as Ben Bella’s Defense Minister and his Boss President Bella started getting strained in Bella’s Second Year in Power. President Bella wanted to relegate the Army’s Influence in Power while Boumedienne wanted the Army to remain at the Center of Power. Suspicion between the two grew and in a bid to save himself from an imminent Sacking, Col. Boumedienne assisted by a Youthful Foreign Affairs Minister in Ben Bella’s Cabinet one Abdelaziz Bouteflika organized a Military Coup which they successfully executed on June 1965 overthrowing President Ben Bella.

Through a Military Council; Col. Boumedienne took Power on July 1965 and abolished the Country’s Constitution Order until 1976 when he introduced a new Constitution. A Presidential Election was organized on December 1976 in which Boumedienne was the only Candidate with FLN as the only Party which saw him Re-elected unopposed. Boumedienne remembered for his Industrialization Policies ruled until December 27,1978 when he died after being in a Coma for several Weeks.

Rabah Bitat a Freedom Fighter and FLN Founder Member who at the time of Boumedienne’s Death was the Majority Leader at Parliament was named as the Interim President a Position he held until February 1979 when Col. Chadli Bendjedid who was Boumedienne’s Defense Minister was appointed by the Military to succeed Boumedienne amid succession struggles.

Algeria’s Parliament removed ban on formation of new Political Parties complete with a Multi-Party Act of 1989 amid Economic Hardship and Inflation Protests. At least 22 New Parties were formed. The first Multi-Party Local Government Elections were held on June 1990. A newly formed controversial ‘Islamic Salvation Front’-FIS that wanted to make Algeria an ‘Islamist State’ won with 55% against Independence/Ruling Party FLN 28%. In a subsequent General Parliamentary Election of December 1991 FIS gave the Ruling FLN a huge challenge winning an overwhelming Majority in Parliament. Upon realizing that FIS was on the Verge of massive Victory the Military Government intervened and annulled the entire Election banned FIS and arrested its Leaders. It also forced its Military Head of State Col. Bendjedid to dissolve Parliament and step down. A Military State Council HCS chaired by Mohamed Boudiaf also a former Freedom Fighter/FLN Founder Member took over Power.

This among other contentious Issues led to what is remembered as the ‘Algerian 10-Years Civil War’ pitting the Military Government and Armed Islamic Rebel Groups between December 1991-February 2002.

The HCS Military Head of State Mohamed Boudiaf was assassinated by one of his Bodyguards believed to be acting on orders from Islamic Rebels on June 29, 1992 while giving a TV Speech leaving the Country in Shock. Ali Kafi was named by the Military as the new HCS Chair/Acting President until January 1994 when the then Defense Minister Col. Liamine Zeroual was named to replace him. Col. Liamine would later be confirmed President through an Election held on November 1995 where he amid the Civil War Tension won against 3 other Candidates as an Independent Candidate.

In another Presidential Election of 1999 President Liamine said he would not be on the Ballot. He urged the Military and other State Officers to stay neutral. This Election had 7 Candidates all who withdrew from the Race 24-Hours to the Election leaving only one Candidate former Foreign Affairs Minister Abdelaziz Bouteflika who they said had Military backing and there were Schemes in place to rig him in. Incumbent President Col. Liamine dismissed their claims and the Election went on with Bouteflika winning unopposed to take Power on April 1999.

President Bouteflika brought in several Measures like the Law on Civil Concord, Negotiations with Islamic Rebels and Freeing of Jailed FIS Leaders among other Measures helped bring the 10-Years Algeria Civil War that according to Reports had claimed the Lives of over 100,000 People to an End.

A Presidential Election was held on April 2004 and Bouteflika under a new Party RND was Re-elected with a Landslide 85% against 5 other Candidates. Former Prime Minister Ali Benflis who was running under the Independence Party FLN came a distant Second with 6% in a Election that Observers said was fairly transparent.

President Bouteflika with Challenges of Insurgent Rebel Groups and Al-Qaeda Terrorism managed to see Algeria Economic Recovery and Stability post the 10-Years Civil War. Algeria’s Parliament unanimously (500/529) passed a Constitutional Amendment that abolished Presidential Two-term limit to allow Bouteflika to run for a Third Term in bid to allow him finish his Peace and Economic Recovery Mission.

Bouteflika was elected for a Third Term on April 2009 with a Landslide 90% against 5 other Candidates. Madam Louisa Hanoune who had made History as Algeria’s first Woman Presidential Candidate came second in this Election with 4% under her ‘Workers Party’. Bouteflika lifts a 19-Years State of Emergency on February 2011 in a bid to calm Protesters who were protesting Economic Hardships and Inflation.

April 2013 Bouteflika suffers a Stroke and goes to seek Treatment in France for 3-Months. The ailing President Bouteflika launches his bid for a Fourth Term a move that sparked ‘Barakat’ (Enough Now) Protests; Algerians demand his Retirement.  In a Presidential Election of April 2014 the ailing Bouteflika who had rarely campaigned won with 82% with backing from the Independence Party FLN in an Election that was boycotted by the Opposition who claimed the whole process was flawed. Former PM Ali Benflis who ran as an Independent Candidate came a distant Second with 12%.

Barakat Protests continued after this Election with Protesters demanding a new Political order.

2019 Algerian Uprising-End of Bouteflika Regime

#ALGERIA #ALGERIE #AlgeriaUprising #AlgeriaRevolution 2019 #Algerians #Algeriens 

Bouteflika’s troubles began on February 2019 when from a Wheelchair where a Stroke had confined him announced his bid to run for a Fifth Term. With the Country still reeling on Inflation, Unemployment, Corruption and State Repression; Thousands of Algerians of all Ages bombarded the Streets first demanding Bouteflika’s immediate Resignation. The Protest intensified in both Numbers and Demands with Protesters now demanding a Total Political and Government Makeover; the Resignation of all top Government Officers under Bouteflika and his Power Cabal (Le Pouvoir). They said Algeria’s Government and Governance System has since Independence been under the Influence of a Powerful Cabal led by the Military, Business Tycoons and a Selfish Elite; they demanded Total Exit/End of this Oligarch. Even the Military could not save Bouteflika; it also joined the People in calling for Bouteflika’s Resignation through its Chief General Ahmed Gaed Salah who said Bouteflika’s Illness had rendered him incapable of carrying out his duties as President.

In just 5 Weeks of Protest, the 82-years old ailing President Bouteflika on State TV announced his Resignation on the Night of April 2, 2019 Four Weeks to the official expiry of his Fourth Term bringing his 20-Years in Power to an Anticlimax.

The Chair of Parliament’s Upper House and Bouteflika’s Ally/Loyalist 78-years old Abdelkader Bensalah who had actually been representing the ailing Bouteflika in Public took over immediately per the Constitution as an Interim President of a Caretaker Government for 3 Months ahead of a fresh Presidential Election. This however did not calm the Protesting Algerians even as the Army through its Chief promised to fulfill all their Demands.

A Presidential Election scheduled for July 4, 2019 upon the due end of Abdelkader’s Interim Period was again postponed as no viable Candidate had presented their Candidature throwing the Country into a Constitutional Crisis amid escalating Mass Protests. 79-years old Army Chief Gaid Salah who was seen as the main Power Broker since Bouteflika’s toppling expressed support to Abdelkader to remain at the helm until a new Election Date is agreed upon. December 12, 2019 was finally set as the new Presidential Election Date after some Dialogue and Consultations in a bid to find a conclusive Solution to the unabated Protests. The Army has promised Fairness and Transparency in this Election saying it shall not support any Candidate.

Algeria’s Tense, Uncertain and Disputed December 12, 2019 Presidential Election

The ‘Algerian Independent Election Monitoring Authority’-NIEMA through its Chair Mohamed Chorfi has out of 23 People who had expressed their Interest cleared only 5 to compete in this Election. The 5 include two former Prime Ministers, 74-yrs old Abdelmadjid Tebboune and 75-yrs old Ali Benflis, it also includes two former Ministers, 60-yrs old former Culture Minister Azzedine Mihoubi and 57-yrs old former Tourism Minister Abdelkader Bengrine. The Fifth Candidate 56-yrs old Abdelaziz Belaid is the Leader of El Mostakbal Movement. 24.4 Million People are registered to Vote in this Election across Algeria’s 48 Provinces (Wilayas).

All the 5 Candidates have been strongly opposed and rejected by the Protesting Masses who are mainly Youths in their 20’s and early 30’s who have said the 5 are all part of the Power Cabal that they have been protesting to leave the Political Leadership Arena. They have vowed to boycott and disrupt this Election should it go on as currently constituted. They want this Election to be postponed for the Third Time until all Bouteflika-Era Faces including the Influential Army Chief leave the Stage for proper Institutional and Democratic Reforms. The Army maintains an Election is the only way to end this Deadlock.

Several Influential Politicians and Leaders in the former Regime of Bouteflika have been arrested, prosecuted and jailed for various offences; Notably Two former Prime Ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal have been Jailed for Corruption. President Bouteflika’s younger Brother Said Bouteflika who was seen an influential figure behind Bouteflika and two former Intelligence Chiefs have also been sentenced to Jail by a Military Court for what the Court called a Scheme to undermine the Army and Plotting against the State. Many other former influential People are in Detention awaiting Trial in sweeping reforms to deal with Corruption, Economic Crimes and Saboteur which are some of the main reasons behind the ongoing 10-Months Streets Protest.

Algeria December 12,2019 Presidential Election Results

74-Yrs old former #Algeria Prime Minister and two times Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune was declared the Winner of this Presidential Election with 58.15% on December 13 and Sworn in as Algeria’s New President on December 19, 2019.Coming
Second was former Minister Abdelkader Bengrina with 17.38% followed by former Prime Minister Ali Benflis with 10.55% followed by former Minister Azzedine Mihoubi with 7.26% with Abdelaziz Belaid coming last with 6.66%. 9.7 Million #Algeriens out 24 Million Registered Voters casted their Votes in this Election that was characterised by Mass Boycott and Anti-Election Protests in what the Protesters said was a Mockery of their 11-Months Streets Protest in Clamour for Change.Electoral Commission NIEMA said Voter Turnout stood at 39%.

Algeria’s unabated Hirak (People’s Uprising);Friday Protests continued even after this Election with Friday December 27,2019 marking the 45th consequtive Friday of Demonstration.The Protesters who rejected these Results saying they’re a Product of a Sham Process and a Mockery of their 11-Months Clamour for substantial Change have vowed to continue with their Protests until all their Demands are fully met;they have also rejected President Tebboune’s Call for Dialogue.The Protesters are also demanding the Release of all those who have been arrested,detained and convicted as a result of these Friday Protests.
This People’s Uprising that began on February intensified on April when it Toppled ailing President Bouteflika who was seeking a 5th Term.Tebboune like the other Candidates was part of Bouteflika’s Regime as a Minister and Prime Minister and had already been rejected by Protesting Algerians whose main Reason for Protest is against what they call ‘Powerful Cabal/Oligarchy’ led by the Military that has killed Democracy by imposing Leaders on them since Independence.Tebboune a Loyalist of the late Influential/Powerful Army Chief Gen.Gaid Salah who was seen as #Algerie ‘s De Facto Leader and main Power Broker since the Fall of Bouteflika until his sudden Death 5-days after Tebboune’s Inauguration as President took over from Abdelkader Bensalah who was the acting President since the Fall of Bouteflika.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune-Algeria’s New President

Algeria Fact File In Brief

  • Algeria located the Maghreb Region of Africa is the biggest Country in Africa and 10th in the World in terms of Land Area; It currently has an estimated Total Population of 42 Million People.
  • Only 12% of Algeria’s Land is inhabited which is in the Northern Part along the Mediterranean Coast where over 80% of Algerians live; Over 80% of Algeria which is the Southern Part is covered by Sahara Desert
  • #Algerians in the relatively small Arable Land grow Cereals mainly Oats, Wheat and Barley; Algeria is in fact the biggest producer of Oats in Africa and Home to the biggest Oat Market in Africa. It’s also one of the biggest grower/producer of Dates and Cherries in Africa.
  • Hydrocarbons mainly Oil and Gas are the Backbone of Algeria’s Economy with the two being the top Export Industries; Algeria is among Africa’s Top 3 Largest Producer and Reserve of Oil and Gas. Africa’s largest Oil Company Sonatrach is located in Algeria.
  • Algeria currently has a GDP of $178 Billion making it the 4th Biggest Economy in Africa; in terms of GNI Algeria is an upper middle-income Country. Algerian Dinar is the Country’s Currency.
  • Algeria’s official Languages are Arabic and the native Berber/Tamazight Language. Despite being a former Colony of France, French has no official status in Algeria although it’s one of the many other Languages spoken in Algeria.
  • Algeria is an Islam Country where close to 99% of Algerians are Muslims; Islam is in fact Algeria’s State Religion Constitutionally. There are very few Christians, Jews and other Faiths/Religions in Algeria.
  • Algeria is Home to 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites which together with the extensive Sahara Desert are major Tourist attractions.
  • Algeria’s National Football Team ‘Les Fennecs’ named after ‘Algeria’s National Animal-the Fennec Fox’ is the reigning Champion of Africa Cup of Nations-AFCON Football Title

(Photos Courtesy)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.