For several weeks, hundreds of thousands of Algerians from all regions of the country and from foreign parts have taken to the streets to oppose a fifth term of the ailing Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has been President of the Algerian Republic for nearly twenty years, and who is physically unfit to govern.
This mobilisation, unprecedented in Algeria’s recent history, rejects a candidacy marred by irregularities, the intimidation of other candidates, and an anti-democratic regime that remains in power despite the will of the vast majority of the Algerian people. Despite their deep anger, the Algerians have shown remarkable restraint by demonstrating peacefully and displaying the legendary humour of the Algerian people.
Beyond the grotesque nature of this candidacy, Algerians reject a regime that has for decades turned nepotism and corruption into a system. Characterised by its opacity and the practice of lies and misinformation, this regime, which for a long time bought social peace on the basis of a now reduced oil rent, has failed to develop an economy commensurate with the country’s resources and to provide the population with employment opportunities or prospects, particularly for the young (29.7% of Algeria’s population are younger than 15). It is the youth – very numerous – who have known no other president than Bouteflika, who take to the streets on a massive scale.
Quick to speak out on other countries, the states of the European Union have remained surprisingly silent. Stupefied by the fear of a hypothetical impact on migration flows, they prefer, as elsewhere in Africa, to support an authoritarian and corrupt regime. They justify this support by the need to establish a bulwark against Islamist terrorism, even though the lack of democracy and the practices of this regime taking over the country’s wealth feed support for the terrorists.
We salute the courage of the Algerian people and express our solidarity with their democratic aspirations. Without any intention of interference, we call on the states of the European Union not to support the regime in Algeria and to express themselves in favour of democracy, in particular by putting pressure on the Algerian government not to violently repress demonstrations and to establish a dialogue with Algerian civil society.
Algeria is a natural partner of the European Union and a strategic ally for the construction of a Euro-Mediterranean area of peace and prosperity. The European Union’s attitude towards current events will be decisive for future relations with this country. Rather than supporting the debris of a failed system, we must hear the democratic call of the Algerian people and bet on the future!
This statement comes at DiEM25’s French National Collective initiative and request.
Image credit: France24
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