Algerian regime pledges fraudulent political “transition” as strikes spread
12 March 2019
As mass strikes spread across Algeria for the second day, the regime issued a statement in the name of figurehead president Abdelaziz Bouteflika yesterday evening, postponing elections indefinitely and pledging that Bouteflika will not seek a fifth term.
The regime’s announcement is a fraud, meeting none of the demands of the workers and youth. While it claims Bouteflika will not stand again for re-election, this is to be achieved by extending his current term indefinitely. Elections previously scheduled for April 18 are to be postponed to at least after 2019.
The regime will appoint what it calls an “inclusive and independent national conference,” which is to draft a new constitution and set the date for new elections. An unspecified “government of national unity is to be formed.” Bouteflika—a political corpse who has not spoken publicly since a 2013 stroke and is widely seen as a figurehead for the ruling cabal in the military, security services and his family—is to oversee the new “constitutional institutions to ensure they adhere scrupulously to the accomplishment of their mission.”
The letter states that the postponement of elections is aimed at “appeasing tensions that have been revealed in order to open the way to generalised peace, quiet and public security.” It adds that the reshuffling of Bouteflika’s cabinet and a change in prime minister “constitute an adequate response to the expectations you have placed upon me.” These are implicit threats that an escalation of the strikes and demonstrations will be met with fierce repression.
Gen. Gael Salah was reported to be in the discussions prior to last night’s announcement….