Algerian anger over amendment, Bouteflika stands alone

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Algerian political parties, RCD, FFS, El Islah… will not take part in the next electoral exercise slated for April this year. Their boycott reveals a marked decrease in enthusiasm as the country’s presidential elections approach.

The Assembly for Culture and Democracy (RCD), led by Saïd Sadi, is the first political party to have declared its intention to boycott the next presidential elections. Insisting that the boycott is part of his “civic duties”, Dr. Saïd Sadi announced a suspension of his public activities on the basis of a “systemic blockage” of the Algerian society. Another major political party to follow this move is the Socialist Forces Front (FFS), the oldest opposition party in the country.

The boycotts come after Algerian president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 71, declared that a constitutional amendment, which he had strongly supported – and which removes the legal two term limit for a president – is to allow “Algerians to exercise their constitutional rights in choosing their government… in all sovereignty”

Pulling out of the pending elections, Abdellah Djaballah, head of the islamist party El Islah, also agreed that “the die has been cast!”. According to him, the Algerian political scene is now a “boisterous sea”. He, however, promised that his pull out does not denote an end to “political activitsm” nor does it stop the longing for true democratic principles.

More boycotts are expected.

The opposition discredits the next elections

Adding his voice to the list of critics ex-president Liamine Zeroual, has reiterated his engagement towards real democratic principles. Mr. Zeroual is the brain behind the former Algerian constitutional amendment limiting the president’s term of office to two, that is, until the re-amendment voted for late last year to allow a president stand re-election as many times as he wishes.

Meanwhile, critics have qualified the next presidential elections as a “masquerade” insisting that it is no different from the 1999 elections, during which six presidential candidates pulled out. Reacting to the criticisms the ruling party, has promised transparency and lucidity during the elections, conspicuously forgetting to encourage the Algerian people to vote in an election which could be undermined by massive boycotts.

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