Can Bouteflika Deliver Democracy to his People?
[By Arezki Daoud | The North Africa Journal] At the end of a 20 minute-televised speech, the Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika pledged that he will be personally the guarantor of his new reform agenda. Under mounting pressure, Bouteflika went on television on Friday, April 15, 2011 as his country has been facing unprecedented levels of protests from a broad swath of the active and unemployed populations, while evolving in a deeply disrupted region.
Although no details were available given the speech was meant to announce what may be coming, the broad targets appear seemingly significant, if indeed achieved. The reform process he announced will have to be achieved through constitutional amendments, a process that is coming after the recent lifting of the 20 year-old state of emergency. Yet, most in Algeria were not impressed by what Bouteflika had to offer. With months of social and economic turmoil, commentators and observers expected more radical announcements and disappointment has set in.
Still, pledging to take the country into a different direction, Bouteflika stated “to crown the institutional edifice with the aim of strengthening democracy, it is important to introduce the necessary amendments to the constitution. Active political currents would join constitutional law experts in drawing up the amendments.” In addition to the political reformation that he seeks, Bouteflika promised more support for the poor and the unemployed, including subsidizing housing to make it more affordable. Continue here | Not a subscriber? follow this link | Join our mailing list.