Rabat – Algeria’s purge of military officers has made headlines recently. An Argentinian analyst interprets the sweep as a clearing of obstacles before the election.
The author of the article, called “Algeria is heading for new electoral fraud,” Adalberto Agozino, provided his analysis for Alternative Press Agency on Algeria’s sacking of senior military figures at this specific time.
The analyst wrote that Algeria is conducting a vast purge within its army and police in order to “ensure the success” of the next presidential election, which will take place in early 2019.
In April, the Algerian ruling party, the National Liberation Front, called on Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run for a fifth term in the election.
In response, Agozino questioned the Algerian president’s ability to fulfill presidential duties.
“Algeria’s constitution establishes a maximum of two five-year presidential terms, but President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 81 and wheelchair-bound since 2013, will stand for a fifth consecutive term in elections without any international oversight,” explained Agozino.
Agozino also questioned whether the international community will “turn a blind eye” to Bouteflika’s candidacy, which will occur in the absence of international observers.
He added that the Algerian regime is currently using the policy of “extreme intimidation” in order to subdue whoever is against Bouteflika’s candidacy.
The analyst also said that authorities are exercising pressure, threatening all who are against the regime’s move with prison.
As evidence, Agozino wrote that authorities confiscated the passport of Nasser Boudiaf, a son of the late former Algerian head of state Mohamed Boudiaf and a possible presidential candidate.
The move, according to the author, is to prevent Nasser from reaching the “El Mouradia” palace.
The author also recalled that political activists of opposition movements, including the “Muwatana” (citizenship) movement, are also facing pressure for criticizing the political regime.
According to Agozino, members of Muwatana, which was created in 2017, were “harassed, persecuted in their street acts and imprisoned.”
And the same pressure was faced by human rights NGOs and trade unions “whose activities suffer all kinds of legal restrictions and their leaders are frequently subjected to rigged lawsuits.”
The author also discussed the paradoxical interests of Algeria and its unwavering support for the separatist Polisario Front in the Western Sahara conflict with Morocco.
Agozino said that while Algeria is interested in supporting the separatists against Morocco’s sovereignty, the country “fights by legal and illegal means its Amazigh (Berber) minority that constitute between 20 and 30% of the total population of the country.”
While Algeria is determined to support Polisario, it has been reluctant to engage in the UN-led political process to find an agreed upon and mutually acceptable solution to the conflict of more than 40 years in Western Sahara.