Scenarios for Algeria’s elections: exploring possible future outcomes over the coming year

11 May

A nice piece of analysis on Algeria’s elections byLakhdar Ghettas from LSE.  He explored the different scenarios that could ensue around the elections that happened yesterday (10th May).

The pressure of the Arab Spring is continuously resisted by the regime-their slogan this year is “Algeria is our spring.” However the regime has an urgent need to respond to the pressures of modernisation. How will it do that over the next six months -and how the power struggle within the members of the eight between modernisers and the establishment will evolve-is one to watch. Will slow progress being made? Or will some form of chaos ensue? Despite the strong stability manifested by the regime to date, as the Arab Spring itself showed in Tunisia and Egypt, there are tipping points that look self-evident after the fact.

Initial indications showed that although the elections went ahead, turnout may have been as low as 10 to 30% (even the regime are claiming only a turnout of 35%). Lakhdar’s piece explores what this might mean for the regime’s self-regeneration strategy. It would be interesting to hear his thoughts on how the events of 10 May might mean for a chaotic transition of power-whether grass-roots-led or driven by a schism within the elite-and what that might look like.

On 10thMay the Algerian regime is holding parliamentary elections against a backdrop of a string of strikes, protests, riots, and the spectre of a massive boycott and abstention. In trying to reverse the tide of boycotts the regime exposed its profound anxiety, which was decoded by Algerians as a sign of an acute vulnerability. This unprecedented stand-off between the regime and society is a real nightmare for the secret services (DRS), which hopes to portray the participation in the May elections as a vote of confidence which offers the current regime, amongst other things, legitimacy from abroad The regime’s strategy is for the parliamentary elections to be presented as a popular validation of the political reforms, initiated a year ago. Moreover, it would maintain on track the reforms roadmap (holding local election next autumn, passing a new constitution which would in turn govern the spring 2014 presidential elections). For all those considerations, the success of the May elections is crucial for the regime’s continuity agenda. However, the almost certain high levels of abstention scenario threatens to upset the regime’s self-regeneration strategy. Therefore, three likely outcomes can be identified a week before elections…”  to read more click here

 

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