President Abdelmadjid Tebboune reaches halfway through his term

Abdelmadjid Tebboune was elected on 12 December 2019 for a five year term with just 58% of the Algerian electorate as president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria. This is a similar official name to that of North Korea: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Of course, the regime in Algeria is not the same as that in Pyongyang. However, if one asks Algerians at home and abroad they will say that their regime is neither democratic nor popular. Since independence, power in Algeria has always been mingled between hard authoritarianism and Democracy. Elections are organised regularly and there are political parties, as well as a few independent press, but Elections will never be transparent, political parties and Civil Society and independent Press will never be allowed to threaten the interests of the government and the Armed forces. No matter who stands for presidential office in Algeria now or in the future, the military will remain in control and have the final say.

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Algeria under Abdelmadjid Tebboune – update

On 12 December 2020, Algeria celebrated the first Anniversary of Abdelmadjid Tebboune in power, without him. He was admitted on 28 October 2020 to University Hospital in Cologne, Germany with covid 19. National Media: Algérie Presse Service, El Moudajid Newspaper and TV 1 channel full of Praise to the President and his achievement since he took office. However, no news about his state of health or when will return home from Germany to resume his duties. The last press release from the government informing Algerian that the president is recovering well and he is expected in a few days time was on 02 December 2020. Since then, there was no news or photographs or video him in Algerian media and people are left in the dark about the health of their President and relay on foreign media, particularly French to be informed about their country.

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Human Rights in Algeria – update

When the European Parliament passed a resolution (see below) on 26 November 2020 on “the deteriorating situation of human rights in Algeria.” Algerian government, Parliament, pro-government parties and human rights body and armed forces were shaken by this resolution and accused the European Parliament of attempting to blackmail the government and its institutions.
  The Minister of Foreign Affairs said in his statement: that “this is blatant interference in our country’s internal affairs … Those who stand behind this resolution want to blackmail our country… In order to subjugate Algeria to the Western camp, impose tutelage and neo-colonialism on us, and solve their economic problems at the expense of Algeria.”
  Mr Bouzid Lazhari, president of pro-government National Council of Human Rights said in his interview with Algérie Presse Service on 30 November that “our Human Rights and Independence derange European Parliament and use Human Rights rules to impose their political agenda and destabilize our country… the authors of this resolution are colonial nostalgia and encouraging terrorists and illegal protests”.
  Pro-government academics also supported the government and criticized European Parliament and said this resolution is written by colonialists who have not yet accept that Algeria is an independent state.
  The Algerian authorities do not accept any criticism from inside or outside. The National Media, particularly, Algérie presse service; El Moudjahid Newspaper; and TV1 channel only reports daily activities of the regime without any comments. A few independent print and online media reports on various issues in the country and publish interviews with academics. However, when the authorities do not like the contents, they face punishment or shut down.

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Human Rights in Algeria

The Algerian government has ratified all UN Human Rights Conventions since 1960, although the situation has improved little over the last few years. In Algeria there are substantial restrictions on freedom of association and assembly; serious controls on freedom of expression and of the press; official impunity; over-use of pre-trial detention; substandard prison conditions; prisoner abuse; restrictions on freedom of movement; violence and discrimination against women; limited workers’ rights.
  Most troubling for any journalist working in Algeria, is the recent government Law forcing journalists to disclose the sources of their published articles critical of the regime.

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Algeria under Abdelmadjid Tebboune

Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the southeast by Niger, to the southwest by Mali and Mauritania, to the west by Morocco and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The National Liberation Front (Le Front de libération nationale) has dominated politics ever since Algeria won independence from France in 1962. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was forced out of office on 2 April 2019 after 20 years in power, and Abdelkader Bensalah was named interim president on the same day. Elections were scheduled for July 2019 but were later postponed because of protests by supporters of the Hirak movement who were disillusioned with the political system and by Algeria’s weak economy and high unemployment, as well as the announcement by President Bouteflika from his Geneva hospital bed that he would seek another five-year term in the 2019 presidential election.

December 2019 Presidential Election
Abdelmadjid Tebboune won a five-year term as president in the election on 12 December 2019. Although he ran for the presidency on an independent ticket, he is an old school regime insider, a loyalist of ousted leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika. As soon as Tebboune’s victory was announced, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Algerian towns in protest. They chanted slogans against Tebboune, who they saw as a continuation of the previous regime, and demanded that the whole political establishment be swept away. Their placards read: ‘your elections are of no concern to us’, ‘We did not vote you president’ and ‘You will not govern us’.

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The Mauritanian presidential election 2019

The Mauritanian presidential election of 22 June 2019 was won by ruling party candidate and former Defence Minister General Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, an ally of outgoing President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. On 1 July 2019 the Constitutional Court ruled that Ghazouani had won by 52% of the votes cast. He was elected for a five-year term of governance in this West African nation threatened by Islamic extremism. The candidates in the Mauritanian presidential election and their scores in the election are as follows:

1. Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, 483,312 votes (52.01%)
2. Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, anti-slavery activist, 172,656 votes (18.58%)
3. Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar, former prime minister, 166,058 votes (17.87%)
4. Kane Hamidou Baba, journalist, 80,916 votes (8.71%)
5. Mohamed Ould Mouloud, historian, 22,695 votes (2.44%)
6. Mohamed Lemine El Mourteji El Wafi, 3,676 votes (0.40%)

According to Mauritanian news media, 100 international monitors had observed the elections and the African Union Election Observer, which comprises 35 observers, as well as foreign embassies in Mauritania reported that the election had been run in a fair and satisfactory manner.

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Algerian political and business tribes own their fight

President Bouteflika (81-years old) who has been ill and in a wheelchair since his hospitalization in France on 26 November 2005, has run his country from his hospital bed. He has not been seen in public since 19 March 2017 and the main news which comes out from his office are communiqués of dismissing or appointing Ministers. The latest was the sacking on 15 August of his Prime Minister, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who was only appointed on 25 May 2017, and his replacement with Ahmed Ouayhia, leader of the National Rally for Democracy Party, the second largest party in Algeria, who has been Prime Minister three times (1995-1998, 2003-2006 and 2008-2012). Ouayhia is a close confidant of the President and his brother Said who is hoping to become President, in case his 81-year old brother, Abdelaziz, does not stand for a fifth term in the 2019 election. In fact, a recent French Senate members analysis report at the end of July, said that the ailing 81-year old president is preparing himself for a fifth term despite being a “living dead ”.

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Recent Referendum in Mauritania


The Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, seized power in a Coup d’état on 6th August 2008 and was elected President on 18 July 2009 for a term of 5 years. He was elected again on 21 June 2014 for a second five-years term. He organised a contentious referendum on 4 August 2017 to abolish the Mauritanian Senate which he considers to be interfering with his authority and replace it with regional Council which he can easily control, as well as merging the Islamic High Council and national Ombudsman into a High Council of the Fawa. During the election campaign, Ould Abdel Aziz did not explain what kind of legislative power regional Council will have and if this body will get material resources to manage local affairs and implement policies.

Abolishing the Senate, which in fact supported most of his policies, is a very dangerous act. This policy will backfire on him.

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