Algeria and Its Government

Abdelaziz Bouteflika : The President Invisible

In the past 15 years, Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika had the constitution amended on multiple occasions. Article 74 in the constitution limits the president to only two consecutive terms. In 2008, Abdelaziz Bouteflika increased the salaries of various legislators, influencing the members to violate the constitution without a referendum or any regard for the Algerian people. Since taking an unconstitutional third and fourth term in office, Bouteflika has declared that he will stay in office until death, which has made Algeria more of a dictatorship than a democracy.

Stolen Mandates

In reference to the last speech of President Bouteflika in May 2012, he announced that the men of his generation should know their limits. Algerians hoped to have elections that promised legitimacy but instead got a regime that’s been in power for over a decade, taking an entire country hostage with an iron grip stifling the voice of democracy. The fact that this current regime continues to grow further out of touch with it’s people is a growing concern.

Since suffering a stroke in 2013, leading to a hospital trip of 80 days, followed by an alert in January 2014 that he may not be fit to rule, Bouteflika’s absence is becoming more commonplace than his actual appearance. In the wake of national tragedies and crises, Bouteflika’s popularity has weakened and now since he hasn’t spoken to the Algerian people in over two years, many are beginning to speculate that his entourage is calling all the shots.

The Powerful Shadows Behind Bouteflika

Some think that Said Bouteflika, brother of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, is the one in power. Since the illness of Bouteflika, his brother was appointed Special Advisor to the President. Throughout the 15 years in power, Said Bouteflika has always kept a strong influence over his brother, and runs in place of other ministers and senior officials.

Corruption in the 2014 April Election

Election Masquerade

The official results of the April 2014 Algerian election symbolized a sham election designed to give Abdelaziz Bouteflika a fourth term. The Algerian people were not been consulted to indicate their choice of leader. Thus, the European Union submitted a detailed report about the last presidential election, in which, detailed many cases of exploitation and tampering with the results. It’s also important to note that “The Electoral Integrity Project,” ranked Algeria in 103th place in the areas of transparency, regularity and the sincerity of electoral process.

The Movement ‘Barakat’

The Algerian people took to the streets to claim their freedom of expression and demand the application of law that defines the rules of democracy. The demonstrations came together under one banner and to say “ Barakat“. The purpose of this movement was to protect the Algerian’s freedom of expression and to proclaim that the history and legacy of Algeria belongs to the people, not just one party. It has been said that the FLN Party was attempting to monopolize themselves as the history of Algeria.

The FLN, the party of great power

The National Liberation Front (FLN) was established in November 1954, a political party today that is still chaired by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Bouteflika created the basis for the independence of Algeria from France. During this action the National Liberation Army (NLA) and the FLN united to fight against the French colonists. The party formed a provisional government in 1958, and upon the proclamation of independence the FLN was eventually placed into power. However, there were significant internal struggles which triggered many debates. Ahmed Ben Bella, a supporter of a military power, dissolved much of the provisional government and advocated for a democratic Algeria. In 1962, Ben Bella became president of the Algerian Republic.

Silence or Chaos

The protestors of the `Barakat` movement are angry that Bouteflika dismissed their opinions and violated the constitution. Throughout these protests, the regime has been threatening the Algerian people, saying that voicing their concerns would lead to the destabilization of the country. The government has insisted on the silence of the people.