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Algerian president dissolves parliament and reshuffles government




The Algerian president wants to take over (photo: DR)
The Algerian president wants to take over (photo: DR)
ALGERIA. After a total of three months of hospitalization in Algeria and then in Germany due to covid-19 and complications including a foot operation, Abdelmadjid Tebboune decided, Thursday, February 18, 2021 in a televised speech to the nation, to dissolve the National People's Assembly (APN - national assembly). Early legislative elections should therefore take place on a date not yet specified. Elections were normally scheduled for 2022, and a new electoral law was being prepared for local and legislative elections.

During this next consultation, the Algerian president wishes to open its doors to the youth. "Young people must integrate the political institutions, and we will help them, by taking charge of part of their electoral campaign".

Less than a quarter of the voters turned out at the referendum on the new Algerian constitution in early November 2020.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune will in parallel, within 48 hours, announce changes in his government. "This reshuffle will concern sectors where there is a lack of performance, felt by citizens and ourselves," he said. He also spoke with six leaders of opposition parties.
 

A very difficult economic and social situation

During his speech, Abdelmadjid Tebboune also promised to release several dozen prisoners of conscience from Hirak. This popular movement led to the renunciation of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to seek a fifth term, his resignation, and the prosecution of part of his clan. The Hirak is preparing to celebrate its two years on February 22, 2021. And if the restrictions due to the pandemic have legally deprived it of demonstrations since March 2020, the Algerian government fears a resurgence of tension. Already on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 in Kherrata (300 km east of Algiers), where this movement was born, thousands of people took to the streets to castigate the president and corruption and demand the release of prisoners of conscience.

On this last point, Abdelmadjid Tebboune will have at least heard them: "I decided to grant a presidential pardon to about thirty people for whom a court decision had been rendered and to others for whom no verdict had been pronounced. Between fifty-five and sixty people will join their families starting tonight or tomorrow," he said in his speech.

In power since December 2019, Abdelmadjid Tebboune faces a very difficult economic and social situation. Algeria's growth rate has plunged by 6.5% in 2020 while the overall volume of exports is down 11% in 2020 and 40% in value. The unemployment rate stands at 15% (30% among young people). After having decreased by nearly 65% (according to figures from the Central Bank of Algeria) between 2014 and 2019, foreign exchange reserves should reach -75% according to the forecasts of the 2021 finance law to fall to less than $ 47 billions (38.75 billions €). "It is time to revive the economy and investment, which creates wealth and jobs (...) and to move away from the false economy based on imports and invoicing", the president claims.

 

Eric Apim


Friday, February 19th 2021



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