Results for Category: Algeria
Given the country’s large surface area, the overall population density is low, with sixteen inhabitants per square kilometre. The concentration of people in the north, which makes up only 20 percent of the country, has, however, led to overpopulation and associated problems of housing and transport.
Two decades on, the system and its leadership seem incapable of resolving these fundamental issues. Opposition parties are allowed to compete in elections, but they are unable to gain significant power on account of the way the system functions and the fact that the military and security establishment still decides important issues.
Declining oil prices have also reduced the government’s ability to use state-driven growth to distribute rents and fund generous public subsidies, and the government has been under pressure to reduce spending. Over the past three years, the government has enacted incremental increases in some taxes, resulting in modest increases in prices for gasoline, cigarettes, alcohol, and certain imported goods, but it has refrained from reducing subsidies, particularly for education, healthcare, and housing programs.
To a certain extent, Tebboune’s election makes sense because of his former position but also because as prime minister he was dismissed for criticizing the president’s clan, which enabled him to distance himself from the old regime during his election campaign. However, this may not be enough if protesters continue to reject his leadership.
The crackdown has occurred despite the Amazigh achieving greater recognition in recent years, including in the constitution. A 2016 amendment declared Tamazight, the Berber language, Algeria’s second official language after Arabic, and recognized ‘Amazighness’ as a part of the national identity. In 2018, the Amazigh new year was designated as a public holiday.
Gaid Salah abandoned Bouteflika after he found out that the latter’s political career was over and that remaining loyal to him would lead to his own departure. Since then, Gaid Salah has been considered the regime’s most powerful figure and, as the army’s chief of staff, responsible for setting the course of his country’s future.
It can be said that Bouteflika came to and stayed in power with the support of the military. Over the next two decades, he was able to reduce the military’s influence and increase the power held by the presidency. Perhaps ironically, the large-scale rejection of his candidacy for a fifth term has once again given the military control of power in Algeria.