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Where is Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s Political Base?

December 22, 2019

The placard above, from an Algiers demonstrator, critical of “foreign interference” refers to the United States and France, both of which are anxious that the new hydrocarbon law be implemented.

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Essence of the piece is simple and direct: the recently elected Algerian president has no base – none whatever – outside of the country’s old guard (the Troika – military, security apparatus, compradore bourgeoisie). It follows logically that he will have to answer to them and cannot stray very far from their program. If he did so… there is the “Boudiaf Option”
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Abdelmadjid Tebboune is Algeria’s recently elected president, a former prime minister from the country’s old guard. He served under discredited former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika who was forced to step down recently.
The article below is in French – Where is Abdelmajid Tebboune’s political base? I reprint it is full along with the “Google Translate” rough (but understandable) translation from French to English. The original piece was written by Ali Boukhlef, published in ‘Liberté” which I assume to be an Algerian publication. I’m not certain of that. The article appeared on the website “Algeria Watch” for which I occasionally have written. Articles there in Arabic and French are much more comprehensive than in English, but the English section is worth looking at too.
Essence of the piece is simple and direct: the recently elected Algerian president has no base – none whatever – outside of the country’s old guard (the Troika – military, security apparatus, compradore bourgeoisie). It follows logically that he will have to answer to them and cannot stray very far from their program.
“Their program” at this point is to force through a new hydrocarbon law that will pry open what is left of Algeria’s ownership of its oil and gas production to foreign ownership. The placard above, critical of “foreign interference” refers to the United States and France, both of which are anxious that the new law be implemented.

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Algeria Watch

Quelle base politique pour Abdelmadjid Tebboune ?

Élu indépendant, il fait face à un choix cornélien

Ali Boukhlef – Liberté, 17 décembre 2019

À quelques jours de son installation au palais d’El-Mouradia, Abdelmadjid Tebboune doit faire face à une scène politique minée. Si ses opposants sont connus, ses soutiens sont aussi embarrassants que nécessaires.

À peine déclaré “vainqueur”, Abdelmadjid Tebboune a dû compter ses soutiens. Comme pour tous les hommes du système, celui qui vient d’être élu à la tête de l’État n’a pas trouvé de soutiens en dehors des laudateurs traditionnels du régime. Ainsi, TAJ, FLN, ONM, des organisations des enfants de chouhada et d’autres traditionnels partis du régime se sont bousculés pour le “féliciter”. À cet effet, ces formations politiques n’ont pas hésité à utiliser le même vocabulaire que celui usité pour soutenir Bouteflika.

Des formules dithyrambiques, une langue de bois poussée à l’excès et un patriotisme débridé sont la particularité lexicale de ces messages qui ornent les palais du sérail politique depuis des décennies. C’est ce qui a été servi à Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

Fait singulier : le FLN, l’appareil politique qui a accompagné tous les chefs d’État depuis l’indépendance (en dehors de la parenthèse de la première moitié des années 1990), s’est trompé de “soutien”. L’ancien parti unique, sans chef depuis l’incarcération de Mohamed Djemaï l’été dernier, s’était abstenu de soutenir un candidat avant de se raviser et appuyer, timidement, Azzedine Mihoubi, secrétaire général par intérim du RND.

Mais le choix s’est avéré faux et le parti s’emploie désormais à soigner son image face au nouveau chef de l’État, membre du comité central du parti. “Chacun soutient qui il veut”, avait répondu Abdelmadjid Tebboune à une question relative au soutien du FLN à Mihoubi, lors de sa première conférence de presse. S’il assure qu’il s’est appuyé sur le “mouvement associatif” et la société civile pour mener sa campagne électorale, Abdelmadjid Tebboune sait qu’il ne peut se passer des partis politiques de l’ancienne “Alliance présidentielle”.

Au risque d’être accusé de reconstituer le système Bouteflika, Abdelmadjid Tebboune n’a d’autre choix que de recourir à ces partis politiques qui ont servi de base politique à l’ancien chef de l’État. Le FLN, le RND et à un degré moindre TAJ et le MPA disposent en effet d’une majorité absolue à l’Assemblée nationale.

Et, en attendant des élections législatives qui ne semblent pas être sa priorité, le nouveau chef de l’État va donc s’appuyer sur l’actuelle Assemblée pour faire passer les lois qu’il présente comme prioritaires, à l’image de la loi électorale et la révision de la Constitution, qui doit passer par les deux Chambres du Parlement avant d’être soumise à référendum.

Sauf que le choix qui se présente au chef de l’État est cornélien. S’il a besoin de ces partis politiques qui représentent “l’ancienne Algérie” dont il dit vouloir se débarrasser, Abdelmadjid Tebboune sait que compter sur ces appuis politiques est un exercice risqué. S’allier au FLN, au RND et aux autres partis le discréditera davantage, lui qui devra fournir des efforts colossaux pour se faire accepter comme président de la République.

En plus d’être la cible des manifestants depuis plusieurs mois, ces partis politiques sont disqualifiés quasiment partout. Y compris par Karim Younès, qui avait affirmé publiquement qu’il n’avait pas l’intention de les associer au “dialogue” qu’il avait mené en septembre dernier. Un fait qui confirme que Tebboune, qui assure ne pas avoir l’intention de fonder un parti politique, est sur un terrain miné. À moins qu’il ne trouve une autre combinaison pour tout au moins donner l’illusion d’un changement.

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Google Translate:

What political basis for Abdelmadjid Tebboune?
BY AW DECEMBER 17, 2019

Elected independent, he faces a tough choice

Liberty, December 17, 2019

A few days before his installation at the palace of El-Mouradia, Abdelmadjid Tebboune faces a mined political scene. If his opponents are known, his supporters are as embarrassing as necessary.

Barely declared “winner”, Abdelmadjid Tebboune had to count his supporters. As with all men in the system, the man who has just been elected head of state has found no support outside of the regime’s traditional laudators. Thus, TAJ, FLN, ONM, organizations of children of chouhada and other traditional parties of the mode jostled to “congratulate”. To this end, these political parties have not hesitated to use the same vocabulary as that used to support Bouteflika.

Dithyrambic formulas, an excessive language of wood and unbridled patriotism are the lexical characteristic of these messages which decorate the palaces of the political harem for decades. This is what was served to Abdelmadjid Tebboune.
A singular fact: the FLN, the political apparatus which has accompanied all the heads of state since independence (apart from the parenthesis of the first half of the 1990s), was mistaken for “support”. The former single party, without a leader since the incarceration of Mohamed Djemaï last summer, had refrained from supporting a candidate before changing his mind and timidly supporting, Azzedine Mihoubi, acting secretary general of the RND.

But the choice turned out to be wrong and the party is now working to improve its image in front of the new head of state, a member of the party’s central committee. “Everyone supports whoever they want,” Abdelmadjid Tebboune replied to a question about FLN support for Mihoubi during his first press conference. If he assures that he relied on the “associative movement” and civil society to carry out his electoral campaign, Abdelmadjid Tebboune knows that he cannot do without the political parties of the former “Presidential Alliance”.

At the risk of being accused of reconstructing the Bouteflika system, Abdelmadjid Tebboune has no choice but to resort to these political parties which served as the political basis for the former head of state. The FLN, the RND and to a lesser degree TAJ and the MPA have an absolute majority in the National Assembly.

And, pending legislative elections which do not seem to be his priority, the new head of state will therefore rely on the current Assembly to pass the laws he presents as priorities, like the electoral law and the revision of the Constitution, which must pass through the two Houses of Parliament before being submitted to a referendum.

Except that the choice presented to the head of state is Cornelian. If he needs these political parties which represent “old Algeria” which he says he wants to get rid of, Abdelmadjid Tebboune knows that counting on this political support is a risky exercise. Allying himself with the FLN, the RND and the other parties will further discredit him, he who will have to make colossal efforts to gain acceptance as president of the Republic.

In addition to being the target of demonstrators for several months, these political parties are disqualified almost everywhere. Including by Karim Younès, who had publicly stated that he had no intention of associating them with the “dialogue” that he had conducted last September. A fact which confirms that Tebboune, who claims not to have the intention of founding a political party, is on mined ground. Unless he finds another combination to at least give the illusion of a change.
Ali Boukhlef

Algerian women demonstrators, wrapped in the Algerian flag

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