Algeria faces interlocking political and socio-economic challenges three years after a long-awaited presidential transition. A largely peaceful protest movement called the Hirak – prompted by the ex-president's attempt to prolong his tenure but driven by deeper grievances – filled the streets on Fridays for much of the period 2019-2021. The Hirak has faded, but its goals are unrealised, and renewed unrest is an ever present possibility. Tensions with Morocco, including over Western Sahara, also loom, threatening to roil North Africa. Through fieldwork and engagement with senior officials, Crisis Group works to enhance Algeria’s contribution to stability and conflict resolution in a troubled neighbourhood.

CrisisWatch Algeria

Unchanged Situation

Preparations for September presidential election continued amid unrest over water shortages; national oil and gas company signed new foreign partnerships.

Ahead of upcoming polls, some parties announced candidates. President Tebboune 7 June convened electoral body for 7 Sept presidential vote, but still did not announce whether he would run. Front des Forces Socialistes, historic opposition party that has boycotted elections for 25 years, 7 June nominated national secretary Youcef Aouchiche as party’s candidate for upcoming polls; Saïda Neghza, president of main employers’ union Confédération Générale des Entreprises Algériennes, 10 June announced intention to run.

Protests erupted over water shortages. Residents 1 June rioted in Tiaret town, 300km west of capital Algiers, against weeks-long shortages of drinking water in some districts; protesters took to streets torching tires and blocking roads. Tebboune 2 June convened council of ministers and ordered them to “develop an urgent and exceptional program” to resolve problem; measures, including installing supply system relying on nearby wells, partially solved problem in central Tiaret, but issues persisted in other neighbourhoods.

National energy company sought new partnerships with foreign companies. State-owned oil and gas company Sonatrach 7 June signed agreement with China’s Sinopec and 13 June signed deal with American company Chevron, aiming to expand cooperation and boost output from southern gas fields, increasing exports. Agreements came after Sonatrach late May signed other contracts with international companies and consortiums.

In another important development. European Commission 14 June announced dispute settlement procedure against Algeria, accusing it of restricting European exports and investments in violation of 2005 trade agreement. 

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In The News

1 Nov 2022
Morocco cannot follow Algeria in terms of military spending, so a military alliance with Israel is a way to balance the power with Algeria. VOA

Michaël Béchir Ayari

Senior Analyst, Tunisia
6 Sep 2022
We're seeing a diplomatic war [over Western Sahara], where both sides [Algeria and Morocco] are resorting to anything short of open conflict. AFP

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa

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Michaël Béchir Ayari

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