‘Algerian elections have no meaning without major change in regime,’ says FIS leader

Image of Sheikh Ali Belhadj, co-founder of Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front [File photo]

Image of Sheikh Ali Belhadj, co-founder of Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front

The Deputy Head of Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) said on Sunday that there must be “major change” in the ruling regime to guarantee “meaningful results” in any upcoming elections, AlKhaleejonline.net has reported. Sheikh Ali Belhaj noted that such change could be achieved through “discussion and dialogue.”

The FIS official made his remarks following the announcement by the presidency of 23 November as the date for local elections in the country. He stressed that the political crisis in the country is “deep” and it could not be solved through local or parliamentarian elections alone.

“The solution is not to hold elections supervised by the regime in the light of a factional administration and a municipal head without enough power to carry out his programme,” he said. As such, he expects there to be a significant boycott of the elections due to the restrictions placed on the heads of municipalities.

Belhaj also pointed out that there are restrictions imposed on certain political parties by the ruling regime, including his own party.

(Source / 28.08.2017)

Algeria TV normalises violence against women

March against domestic violence [Reuters]

March against domestic violence

Images and speeches contained in programmes broadcast by certain Algerian television channels “publicly incites violence against women”, the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) has warned.

The group called for measures to be taken in Algeria to put an end to such imagery, a statement said yesterday.

The CNDH criticised the fact that “programmes by certain television channels that are supposed to be entertainment, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, undermine the dignity of women and publicly incite adults and children alike through images and speeches.”

Many popular programmes broadcasted during Ramadan usually have hidden camera shows where women are repeatedly hit by individuals forced in artificial situations to react. The act of hitting is usually accompanied by comical sound effects and audience laughter which has been criticised for normalising violence against women.

Read: Algeria blocks internet access to prevent exam cheats

The CNDH has urged the judiciary to “apply the laws with a view to ending all forms of discrimination carried out by certain media, in particular on the basis of sex, race, colour or disability.”

It has also called on the Audiovisual Regulatory Authority to “assume its prerogatives arising from its mission as defined by the texts establishing its creation, including that of ensuring compliance with the laws and regulations in force in all broadcast programmes.”

In this context, the CNDH recommends that “media clauses banning all forms of discrimination, in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Code” be included in the media operators’ specifications.

(Source / 13.06.2017)

Algeria Appoints New Prime Minister

A picture taken on February 2, 2016 shows Abdelmadjid Tebboune during a meeting of the National Liberation Front (FLN) in Algeria

A picture taken on February 2, 2016 shows Abdelmadjid Tebboune during a meeting of the National Liberation Front (FLN) in Algeria

Algiers — Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Wednesday appointed Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who was housing minister, the new prime minister, replacing Abdelmalek Sellal in the wake of parliamentary elections.

The president’s office, quoted by national news agency Algeria Press Service (APS), said the move to appoint a new premier came after Sellal submitted his government’s resignation to Bouteflika following the sitting of a new national assembly on Tuesday.

On May 04, National Liberation Front (FLN) and its ruling coalition won a clear majority parliamentary elections.

The announcement was made in a statement issued by the Algerian presidency which said: “Following the Constitutional Council’s announcement of the final results of recent legislative polls, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal submitted his resignation today to President Bouteflika.

“The president congratulated Sellal and members of his government for their good performance during their time in office,” it added.

The statement explained that in accordance with Article 91, paragraph 5 of the Constitution, the President, following consultation with the parliamentary majority, has appointed Abdelmadjid Tebboune Premier.

Bouteflika also instructed members of the resigning government to attend to the current affairs of their respective sectors, pending the appointment of the government.

The announcement of the new cabinet is expected soon and will most probably include members of majority parties FLN and Rally for Hope in Algeria (TAJ).

Islamist party Movement for the Society of Peace (MSP), said the party and its ally the Front for Change would have won if there had not been any fraud and refused Bouteflika’s suggestion to join the new government.

MSP said that the new government will not be able to face the challenges and dangers of the coming phase.

Tebboune, 71, has been minister of housing since 2012. He is seen to be close to the president and his brother al-Saeed Bouteflika who is the actual president of the country since President Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013.

In other news, Deputy Defense Minister and Army Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Saleh condemned Tuesday the statements of the opposition claiming military personnel were instructed to vote for certain candidates, describing those statements as: “incorrect, inappropriate, and unacceptable.”

Saleh didn’t explain at whom his statements were directed but media was under the impression that he was responding to Secretary General of the Workers’ Party Louisa Hanoun. Hanoun criticized the performance of the military during the elections.

Saleh stressed that the leadership was keen that all military personnel vote in elections all across Algeria.

He explained that this had happened in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Algeria and in full coordination with the Ministry of Interior.

(Source / 25.05.2017)

Bouteflika nominated Africa Coordinator for terrorism efforts

Image of Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika [file photo]

Image of Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been nominated as Africa Coordinator for Combating Terrorism during a ceremony for the outgoing and incoming Commissions of the African Union, in Addis Ababa yesterday.

Abdelmalek Sellal, Prime Minister of Algeria.

Abdelmalek Sellal, Prime Minister of Algeria

The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal who acted as the personal representative of the President of the Republic. The announcement was made by President-in-Office of the AU, Alpha Condé, to members of the Bureau of the Conference, in recognition and honour of Algeria’s “personal and renewed commitment” in the fight against international terrorism.

The ceremony also recognised the significant and proven contribution of Algeria in international mobilisation around the fight against this scourge.

Political dialogue

This trust is a “strong testimony” to the policies Algeria has carried out in order to stabilise the country and its achievements in the political, economic and social fields, “thanks to the policy of dialogue, national reconciliation and civil concord.”

The AU also commended the country for its role and personal commitment to the resolution of conflicts in Africa through political dialogue.

Algeria has played a major role in mediating a solution for conflict-ridden Libya and has vehemently opposed any Western interference in the region’s affairs.

The North African country has been involved in a few successful anti-terror operations in recent weeks as it battles militant operatives in the country.

The region has seen a decrease in its security standing as militants fighting in Libya, who have faced major setbacks, attempt to move to Libya’s neighbouring states to continue their operations.

(Source / 15.03.2017)

Students call off hunger strike in Algeria

Dental students on hunger strike in Algeria

Dental students have decided to suspend their hunger strike after a letter from the secretary-general of the Ministry of Higher Education granted permission for a meeting with the student representatives yesterday.

“We received [yesterday] a call from the rectorate informing us of a meeting to which students’ representatives are invited. A decision was taken by common agreement with the other departments to suspend our hunger strike from this afternoon,” a student delegate of the Department of Dental Surgery at Mouloud University Mammeri of Tizi Ouzou, Aïssa Maïche confirmed yesterday.

The meeting will involve the respective Secretaries-General of the Ministries of Higher Education and Health and a representative of the Civil Service.

According to the delegate, the hunger strike will be suspended until the “proclamation of the results of the meeting”.

The suspension of our hunger strike and, at the same time, of the whole strike movement, is dependent on the results of this meeting. The satisfaction of our demands means the immediate cessation of our actions of protest

Maïche explained.

Four student delegates were evacuated to hospital yesterday after a scuffle broke out during a rally organised by students at the University of Es Senia in the Oran province.

Algerian doctors, academics protest against grants freeze

A sit-in in solidarity with the strikers was also organised in Oran.

On strike since November last year, dental students are demanding increased resident positions and reorganisation of the boarding school. They have been calling for the transition to step 16 on the salary scale, instead of the current 13, “in accordance with the commitments of the guardianship in 2011, following the reorganisation of the system of studies”.

The national coordinated effort is pressurising the government to tackle the issue of shortages of residences, the absence of internships and calls for better quality training.

(Source / 14.03.2017)

Algerian doctors, academics protest against grants freeze

Algerian Parliament [Wikipedia]

Professors, doctors and researchers from numerous Algerian universities protested outside the headquarters of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Algiers yesterday to condemn the recent decision to freeze grants related to scientific research and academic visits abroad.

A petition has also been signed by more than 100 researchers appealing to the Minister for Higher Education, Tahir Hajjar, to urgently intervene to prevent a significant delay in the grant of a national exchange programme for 2017/2018.

Many tried to contact officials from the Ministry of Higher Education to learn the fate of the national programme and the coming academic year but no explanations were given.

A number of researchers told Algerian news site Echourouk that the vigil was an inevitable result of the decisions taken by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research concerning the freezing of grants and travel exchange programmes that qualify them to gain new experiences for their research within the latest global study trends.

Related: Dental students in Algeria continue hunger strike

According to Echourouk, ministry officials were “surprised” at the meeting of student representatives arguing that the ministry had allocated a “safe” scientific research budget.

However protestors have questioned the fate of those funds and financial wrappers allocated to them, asking the minister to open an investigation into the allocation of the funds.

Algeria has seen uproar in the last few months amongst its students and professors demanding a more transparent education system with better opportunities for its students and greater funding and schemes for its researchers and academics.

(Source / 13.03.2017)

Algerian president reiterates support for Polisario Front

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika casts his ballot in the legislative elections on May 10, 2012 [Magharebia / Flickr]

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika casts his ballot in the legislative elections on May 10, 2012

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has reiterated his country’s keenness to continue to support the Saharawi people to realise their right to self-determination and independence.

In a letter addressed to the head of the Polisario Front, Ibrahim Ghali, on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the unilateral founding of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Bouteflika called on the international community to assume its responsibility and resolve the Western Sahara dispute through a UN referendum.

“The international community has an obligation to carry out its responsibility and to accelerate the creation of a legitimate solution to this case within the framework of the UN in order to enable the Saharawi people to realise their right to self-determination” the president told Ghali. “I reiterate to you Algeria’s support and endorsement, and I assure you that we will continue to strive to help the Saharawi people to realise their right to self-determination through a free and impartial referendum under the auspices of the UN.”

Thembisa Fakude: Why did Morocco decide to join the African Union?

The UN, Algeria and Mauritania have been supervising negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front in search of a solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara. Spain’s colonial administration of the territory ended in 1976. Fighting later broke out between Morocco and the Polisario Front, who both signed a ceasefire agreement in 1991.

While Morocco claims ownership of the Western Sahara, the Polisario Front has proposed a self-determination referendum to decide the region’s fate. The Polisario proposal is supported by neighbouring Algeria.

(Source / 27.02.2017)

Algerian President: Algeria Will Overcome All Challenges and Difficulties

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika gestures during a swearing-in ceremony in Algiers April 28, 2014

Algiers – President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika said on Saturday that the country was able to achieve national unity and inclusive reconciliation. He called on the Algerian people to go massively to the polls in the legislative elections of May 4.

On the occasion of the National Day of the Martyr, Mohamed Ali Boughazi, Bouteflika’s advisor, read a message on behalf of the president in which he said that Algeria will overcome all challenges and difficulties, adding that the Algerian youths are aware and will not follow those who want to destabilize the country and spread strife.

“As we are celebrating our country’s glorious history on this National Martyr Day, our people are getting ready for the legislative elections to vote for their representatives at the People’s National Assembly, and I seize this opportunity to call on the children of our country to exert their right to choose their deputies by going massively to the polls,” Bouteflika added.

The president reiterated that the Algerian people’s free and sovereign choice will be respected within the framework of the Constitution and Law.

He added that the sovereignty, right to preside our country, and freedom of individuals]cdfr are the fruit of heavy sacrifices made by one and a half million martyrs who died in order for Algeria to live and its people enjoy the benefits of liberty and independence.

Former Prime Minister Ali Benflis, President of Talaïe El Hourriyet, also spoke on the occasion of Martyr Day during a ceremony organized by the Territorial Party Office in Oran.

Benlfis said that if the martyr returned today he would be overwhelmed with anguish at the sight of Algeria and he would be in despite to see that freedoms are not achieved.

“If the martyr came back to us today, he would be in despair, he who has never despaired, to see that rights, freedoms and citizenship of which he sacrificed his life to impose in our country, are not achieved,” Benlfis stated.

Benflis, who opposes Bouteflika, said that even in 21st century, Algeria is still an archaic country and hasn’t developed economically or socially.

He stressed that: “If the martyr came back to us, today he would have many reasons to regret and anguish the unfortunate fate of our country.”

(Source / 19.02.2017)

Algeria introduces censorship of imported books

Algerian Parliament [Wikipedia]

Algerian Parliament

Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal has signed an executive order placing government censorship on imported books, especially those concerning the country’s liberation revolution (1954-1962) against French colonialism, Anadolu news agency has reported.

According to the decree, which was published in the Official Gazette on Tuesday, book importers should submit a list of books – both printed and electronic publications – to the ministry of culture for approval before they can be distributed. The law applies to books printed abroad and destined for sale, public reading or donation in Algeria. Two copies of each book must be submitted to the ministry prior to distribution; officials will then decide whether to allow them to be in Algeria or ban them.

Books dealing with Algerian history, especially those imported from France, often cause a lot of controversy.

The decree comes a few days after the issue of another executive order placing conditions on the import of religious books and imprints of the Qur’an, which require importers to obtain prior permission from the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

(Source / 01.02.2017)

Algerian Government might Suspend Opposition Parties Boycotting the Elections

Algeria

A prolonged boycott by MPs could delay president Bouteflika’s promised constitutional reforms due this year

Algiers – Minister of Interior and Local Authorities Noureddine Bedoui announced that the Algerian government could suspend the opposition parties which threatened to boycott the parliamentary elections. Ali Benflis’ party objected statements of the minister saying that these statements are the government’s attempt to control the political life in the country.

Earlier, Bedoui announced that the opposition’s decision to boycott elections is a dangerous deviation and violation of the parties’ right to choose their own political aspirations.

Ahmed Adimi, spokesperson of Talaie el-Hourriyet led by Benflis, said that these statements are rejected. Yet, he added, that what the minister said didn’t come as a surprise because they speak of political regime that is “only creative and in suppressing freedoms and subdue political and civil rights.”

The Minister of Interior criticized the parties that decided to boycott elections claiming that it is already settled for the parties loyal to the government. Bedoui challenged those who doubt the integrity of the elections in May saying they are trying to change the regime with another Arab Spring, which the Algerian government view as a failure and chaotic.

Adimi wished the government used those creative methods in getting Algeria out of this political block and eliminate dangers that threaten the country.

The spokesperson criticized the authorities saying this political system is original in finding a new scapegoat to blame for its own failures and fiascos. He urged the officials to get back to their senses, stressing that the next legislative polls, which the government is so keen on holding, is not up to the concerns of those who are anxious about matters that threaten the state.

The Algerian opposition impugns the credibility of the government’s reforms launched by President Abdulaziz Bouteflika in 2011, and ended in 2016 with the amendment of the constitution.

The opposition views these reforms as the regime’s guarantee to continue ruling.

Adimi said that the government is only good at threatening the opposition. He added that political parties are not a charity work from the government to the people, but rather a constitutional right which Algeria committed to when it agreed to international treaties including the International Declaration for Human Rights.

(Source / 19.01.2017)