The decision by Islamist parties to boycott the upcoming Algerian presidential elections exposes the fragmented and weak state of the movement.
The latest flare-up between Algeria and Morocco over Western Sahara is less about human rights than the two countries’ relative diplomatic power.
Given the grim prospects for resolving the crisis in Mali, North African governments will have to look South on security matters for years to come.
Le pouvoir is cracking down more forcefully on demands for greater freedoms and political change.
Algeria pulled off elections to international acclaim, but ongoing riots and self-immolations should not be ignored.
The US and EU should remember how the Arab Awakening started and throw out the pre-2011 rulebook, even in the countries that remain “stable.”
Reports of corruption, political power struggles, and questions about Bouteflika’s health reignite speculations about Algeria’s political future.
As Algeria approaches a presidential election, the young leader of an opposition party discusses the dilemmas associated with uncompetitive elections, lack of democracy inside parties, and efforts to mobilize youth.
Algeria has entered the countdown stage for the April 2009 presidential election, a critical test for its democratic experiment. Neither the rules of the game nor the candidates in the coming election are clear yet, but there are several possible scenarios depending on whether President Bouteflika will run and how the other political forces will react.
The May 21, 2003 earthquake that took some 2200 souls, wounded 10,000, and left 150,000 homeless has failed to jolt Algeria's political system out of its paralysis. The state's slow reaction to the disaster has further eroded President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's authority, with the result that a growing list of rivals may contest his bid for reelection in April 2004.
Is America serious about democracy and political reform in the Arab world? Does the neo-Wilsonian dimension of the Bush administration's policy toward the region presage a decisive departure from the longstanding realist policy of "regime maintenance"?
The Algerian government has billed the country's April 8 presidential election, in which incumbent Abdelaziz Bouteflika defeated five challengers with a reported 83 percent of the vote, as a "turning point" for democratization. The smooth and mostly peaceful conduct of the vote and the 59 percent turnout mark a distinct improvement over the flawed 1999 polls.
There is broad consensus in Washington that a "war of ideas" is a central component of the larger war on terror. And in this war, a prime target is the "poisonous" Arab media environment, particularly the new satellite television channels , which are blamed for spreading anti-American sentiment.
On September 29, Algerians overwhelmingly endorsed the draft Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation, an amnesty law proposed by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to grant exemption from prosecution to any member of an armed group for crimes committed in the conflict that began in 1992.
The low voter turnout in the May 2007 legislative elections (about 36 percent, compared to 65 percent in 1997 elections) showed that Algerians still believe that their votes do not make a difference. Clearly power rests somewhere other than in the elected legislature.
The second of June marked the second anniversary of the assassination of Lebanese writer Samir Qasir, with no indication of who ordered the car bombing that silenced one of the loudest Arab voices criticizing autocratic Arab regimes, particularly the Assad family in Syria.
Until recently Western assistance programs aimed at strengthening political parties were less present in the Arab world than in almost all other areas of the developing world. As part of the heightened U.S. and European interest in promoting Arab political reform, however, such programs are multiplying in the region.
On July 19, 2005, Secretary General Abdelaziz Belkhadem of the National Liberation Front (FLN), Algeria's current parliamentary majority party, announced the creation of a party commission for constitutional reform. Citing the pressing need to “clarify the nature of the regime,” he ignited the latest round of political debate over Algeria's Constitution.
Foreign democracy assistance organizations working directly with political parties have come into the line of fire as some Arab governments have pushed back against democratization initiatives over the past two years. In Algeria, Bahrain, and Egypt in particular, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) have been among the first to feel pressure.