Algeria: President Tebboune would like to "gather", to turn the page in Hirak

Abdelaziz Bouteflika was driven out by a massive popular uprising in December 2019.

Algeria: President Tebboune would like to "gather", to turn the page in Hirak

Abdelaziz Bouteflika was driven out by a massive popular uprising in December 2019. Abdelmadjid Tebboune was elected to succeed him. Since then, he has been trying to overcome the distrust of Hirak activists and the opposition, who see the president at 76 as a product of the state apparatus, which cannot bring about the renewal that young people expect.

Although the Hirak was launched in February 2019 in order to demand a fundamental change in the system, it has largely died since then. According to the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees, more than 250 people are still in prison in connection to this movement. or for claims concerning individual freedoms.

The celebration of the 60th anniversary in Algeria of independence after 132 years of French colonization was fast approaching. The power deemed it a good opportunity to ease tensions.

In May, the APS agency published a comment describing Mr. Tebboune's role as a "unifying President" who "is putting his intelligence into bringing together people and parties that could not get along in past." The agency said that Algeria needed all its children to commemorate the 60th anniversary. It did not mention Hirak militants. She said that "the new Algeria" is Mr. Tebboune's "new Algeria", and "his children" are "opening a new chapter."

Over the next days, Mr. Tebboune had separate meetings with leaders of various political formations, including the opposition party Movement of the Society of Peace, Islamists. In mid-May, he publicly spoke out about his initiative during a meeting with representatives from the Algerian diaspora. He said that it was necessary for the creation a front internally welded.

He also stated that a meeting would be held with all political parties within the next weeks, but did not specify the purpose.

The influential Algerian army, a pillar in power, supported the initiative and Chief of Staff Said Chanegriha said that it was "perfectly in accord with the legitimate aspirations for a better future"

Toufik Bougaada, a political analyst, says that the power is facing increasing political constraints and must open up to a new political process to attain the stability it seeks since Hirak.

"The power has not been in a position to create a political environment around its project for a new Algeria. Professor of international relations at University of Algiers says that the political slump and harsh criticism of human rights have led to the resignation of power.

After meeting with Tebboune, Abderrazak Makri, leader of MSP party expressed optimism that Algerians would "come to a common vision guaranteeing freedoms as well as an effective political transition".

Mohcine Belabbas (president of the Rally for Culture and Democracy, or RCD), was skeptical about the motives of the power. This opposition party had boycotted the 2021 legislative elections. Belabbas posted on Facebook, "If there was a genuine will, the authorities would have freed all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and ended the arbitrarily prosecuting political activists and activists."

Ismail Maaraf is a professor of political science and law at the University of Algiers. He believes that a serious political dialogue requires "appeasement measures" with the release of political prisoners and opening of the media and political fields.

Karim Tabbou, Hirak figure and leader of a small party of opposition, stated that "the authorities don't care about the issue of Hirak detainees". He also reminded that "the Head Of State can at any time take action to release them." Hirak is the only problem. "He is doing every possible maneuver to make his return impossible," he said on Facebook.