Algeria: Hirak Act II
The Hirakists persist in their demands for regime change, while the Military are pushing for the Constitutional order.
By Abdennour Toumi
Algeria’s “triangle of hope” could lead to the question the street, the Generals, and the Presidential Palace are asking: Will democracy in Algeria really be workable? According to classic political system theory, the qualification of the Algerian Constitutional system is the most complex of the Arab countries’ systems. Of the three Democratic systems, Algeria theoretically applies the Presidential system. On one hand, an elected President has extensive Constitutional powers, although the system contains many contradictory elements.
The Parliamentarian system, on the other hand, in its function makes the elected Parliament and Senate the real euphemistic power-holders in any decision-making process. The role of the political parties, in Algeria’s case, is a multi-party model, which is actually a monopoly of two parties (FLN-RND) that have been the leading power combination for two decades under the Bouteflika oligarchic system.
The Algerian Presidential model, however, if there is one, gives a single individual as President the power to halt important reforms and public policies from justice, social housing policies to foreign policy and defense policy is the President.
Nevertheless, the Algerians’ political civility and the judiciary system’s credibility are always viewed with suspicion and register a cognitive dissonance throughout the entire country. According to the Hirakists a constitutional crisis is underway for the majority of the Hirakists because of the involvement of the Military — a weak President could be appointed by the Generals and elected by the voters. A situation for the rest of the observers is a constitutional circumstances exception or an exclusionary rule.
The national political situation during this period is both unstable and authoritarian under a weak President and irrelevant Congress, even in “Caretaker” functioning government branches. Al though the purge operation led by the Military chief of Staff/Vice-Defense Minister General Ahmed Gaïd Salah against the Gang of 8 (either jailed in the infamous al-Harrach prison commonly called a-Rab’a q’tarate by the masses) or under investigation by the Military AG, is getting front page coverage and breaking news echos in the so-called private media which is becoming the “voice” of the Hirak and citizens’ media in post-Bouteflika era.
Currently, Algeria has a “Caretaker” President and a determined General who wants to accomplish something concrete to create a “triangle of hope” sentiment — usually, this is not a virtuous characteristic for a Military leader to have, Algerians are accustomed to such behavior. Currently Algerians have a President who found himself in the Palace because of the soft coup of a General who got tired of the Bouteflika(s) and their gang, for the former is not running on any program or platform not promising anything to the angry voters.
The “Caretaker” President knows well his days are numbered and he is not empowered to fix the judiciary system and rehabilitate politics and the politicians in the after math of the “Cocaine Gate.” This scandal inspired frustrated soccer fans to ridicule the corrupt oligarchs and khobzist politicians from the stadiums’ bleachers with Hirak’s pop culture or “chant de guerre” song, Casa d’al-Mouradia.
Thus the “Caretaker” President and the country’s strongman have been facing a tenacious opposition from all sides; oddly, this includes those who were opposing the ex-President’s fifth-term like the francophone media and elite in the town’s upper hills and the yuppy salons’ tea houses of les rues Larbi Ben M’hidi and Didouche Mourad. It is astonishing to see men and women fiercely detracting from the core narrative of the Algerian Mosaic uprising orchestrated by the Generals ending the political charade of the century cherished by the window boutique political parties and the ex-President’s brother’s minions, the Gang of 8.
Politics can be cruel in the way its treats its wounded. Not to mention political leaders like Mr. Tabou who forged his political career in the FFS Party and was the Party’s Chair, a hopeful presidential candidate for Neo-Algeria’s secularists. He represents a new generation of the lefty liberal politicians in the country, despite his harsh positions on the Military, which has offended his opponents on social media “labeling” him the soft voice of the Gang of 8. And now he is even daring to kill the hope of more than forty million Algerians, spitting in the honey pot that nourished his political carrier.
One should ask whether Mr. Tabou and his followers on Face-book and Twitter are supposedly serving their needy base and people not of their ethnic region only, nor the greedy oligarchs? Algerian politicians like all Arab countries lack humility and respect toward their voters and have the audacity of despair to switch party lines for phone line and credit line from the State’s Intelligence Service.
However, in the Parliamentary system or, for example, in the Semi-Presidential like in France, Algeria’s next president would leave the executive to be overseen by the majority in the Parliament, whether the next Premier comes from his party or not, because in those systems the President or the Prime Minister needs a 50+1 vote to pass a bill in Parliament. Algerian politicians though need to learn an accountable power practice and rhetoric exercise, because they have been abusing the sarcasm of the voters of whom 99% recognize how they have being fooled.
Hirak Act II is a wake-up call for all the masses to speak up smartly to fire these incompetent politicians, arrogant elite and opportunist media who months ago believed in scary fear-tactics rather than in Democracy.
Today, they are applauding the purge operation launched by the Military against the Toufikists, but how would this operation play out in the ongoing power struggle between the General and the Hirakists?
On Thursday the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of former Premiers Ouyahia alias “Mister Yogurt” and Sellal, and the Military on their side ordered the arrest of former HR Director at the Defense Ministry General Ali Ghediri, once hopeful presidential candidate against the ousted President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April, 2019, and according to Mondafrique an online investigation paper, Dr. Abdelmoumen Ouald Kadour, former national oil company CEO (Sonatrach) has been arrested on Sunday Tlemcen.
Is this the post-DRS State, referring to the KGB State under the Soviet Union, a prolongation of preemptive action cutting the DRS State ramifications and influence?
The Hirakists persist in their demands for regime change, while the Military are pushing for the Constitutional order, but the proposed road map of the Military it seems is causing more divergence than convergence. Skeptical and cynical protests are saying all these actions are just a tempest-in-a-teacup, and not really the end of the DRS State and its remaining elements in the civil administration and the military high ranking who are still posing a threat to the Generals; they could rebound, but the country’s strongman is saying: I have to go find a president now.
- France correspondent for The Arab Daily News.
- www.bareed-areej.com Editor-in-Chief
رئيس تحرير مجلة بريد الأريج
- Political consultant at IMPR a Think-Tank based in Ankara, Turkey.
- Member at the European Observatory for Arabic Language Teaching based in Paris, France.
- Affiliated with Sociology of Islam Journal and contributor at Middle East Studies / International Studies, Sociology of Islam and Muslim Societies Center, Portland State University in Portland, OR.
EDUCATION: Diplôme des Études Approfondies (DEA) in Political Science from Toulouse University I, France. Master’s degree in Law from Algiers University, Algeria.
Email im at: email@example.com
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