Algeria: Friday test for the initiatives of the power

Algérie: vendredi test pour les initiatives du pouvoir

New protests against the government have been convened in Algeria for Friday, the day the flagship of the challenges, at the end of a week that saw president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to postpone the elections, extend his mandate and propose a plan of reforms as soon taunted.

Students and academics, and then teachers and high school students, have already expressed in number on Tuesday and Wednesday, in response to the decisions of the head of State to relinquish to run for a fifth term while postponing sine die the presidential election initially scheduled for 18 April.

The leader is 82 years old, in poor health, has extended the current mandate until the end of a “national Conference” in charge of reforming the country and drafting a new Constitution. No date has been set for this conference.

The calls for a fourth Friday in a row the larger protests across the country has resumed Thursday in response to the press conference of the new Prime minister Noureddine Bedoui, who was replaced on Monday the very unpopular Ahmed Ouyahia, and deputy Prime minister, Ramtane Lamamra.

Their statements did not seem to appease the wrath, vive since February 22, although always peaceful. It is of an unprecedented scale since the coming to power of Mr. Bouteflika was 20 years ago, in a country which has not participated in the arab spring of 2011.

“We have heard the message of the algerian youth” and “the claims of the street” will set the course for the future government, has assured Mr. Bedoui. Its composition will be announced “no later than next week” and it will be a team of “technocrats”, with its roots in the “young people skills, men and women,” he said.

– To preserve “stability” –

“The general situation in the country is sensitive and is marked sometimes by tensions that do not allow to reach a consensus to respond to the claims” immediately, ” argued Mr. Bedoui in opening the press conference.

“You need to get out of this crisis and calm manner and ensuring the stability of the country,” he continued, calling several times the “dialogue”.

Mr. Bedoui, prefect of her career so far is Interior minister, and described by the daily El Watan a few months ago, “minister of Repression”, has often appeared to the sentence to provide a concrete answer to the questions of the journalists.

It was justified by the “will of the people” the postponement of the presidential election and the extension by the head of State of his mandate. However, these decisions have been deemed illegal or unconstitutional by many observers. And he did not give a date for future presidential at the end of which Mr. Bouteflika pledged to withdraw.

The new Prime minister has just stated that the mandate of the government, who will have a role to “support and support of the national Conference, “will not exceed one year”, suggesting that the Conference itself could have finished its work in one year, which is doubt very much.

MESSRS. Bedoui and Lamamra have struggled to convince. “What is this press conference?”, asked by a journalist: “Your answers have been so far off-topic, you don’t give the impression of trying to answer the questions (…) of the people”.

– “Deep offset” –

On Wednesday, Mr. Lamamra, tasked to “sell” the “plan of work” presidential foreign observers had touted the merits of the announcements of the head of State.

Mr Bouteflika, “it is not a question of staying in power for a few weeks or a few months,” assured the minister. “The absolute priority is to bring together the Algerian people and allow them to move together toward a better future”.

Another former diplomat, Lakhdar Brahimi, considered close to Mr Bouteflika, has defended also the solutions proposed by the president. He has advocated “dialogue” and warned against any “radical change”.

But, according to the newspaper Freedom, these “media events” had the merit to confirm the profound gap between the solutions (…) as proposed by the plan and those held by the people”.

In this context, the derby of Algiers between Mouloudia and the USM, advanced one day so as not to coincide with Friday’s protests, was widely boycotted. The fans have taken a call not to attend the meeting because of fears of violence that could make no protest.