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Algérie – Les Algériens manifestent massivement contre la prolongation du 4ème mandat

Mar. 15, 2019


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Algeria, rising

Hugh Roberts, 10 mars 2019

The Algerian state is in crisis because the popular refusal of a fifth term for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has immense constitutional implications and confronts the Algerian army commanders with a massive dilemma. Algerian public opinion has not been repudiating Bouteflika personally; it has been indignantly rejecting the suggestion that, in his now permanently crippled, wholly incapacitated condition, he should be considered eligible for another five years in office. In acting in this way, the Algerian people have been defending the constitution, not violating it. Article 102 clearly defines the procedure to be followed “[w]henever the President of the Republic, because of serious and enduring illness, finds himself in a total incapacity to exercise his functions”. This procedure has not been followed, when it should have been set in motion long ago. Following his stroke in April 2013, it was clear that Bouteflika was already incapacitated when he sought a fourth term in 2014. Public opinion was slow to react then, in part because the scandalous nature of what was happening had not fully dawned on people. But the notion that the decision-makers could try it on yet again, five years later, when Bouteflika’s incapacity had long been evident, was the drop that made the vase overflow. The problem for the army is that, in rejecting a fifth term for Bouteflika, the People are rejecting the army commanders’ preferred option and – whether they realise it or not – challenging the generals’ hegemony over the state.

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