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Algeria

In addition to a looming succession crisis, Algeria faces multiple political, economic and social challenges. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has ruled the country without contest since 1999 but has been gravely ill since a stroke in 2014. With no clear heir, his succession could be troubled and worsen Algeria’s ability to tackle mounting economic challenges as oil income dwindles. This would deprive the wider region – particularly the Sahel – of an important stabilising presence. Through fieldwork in Algeria and engagement with senior officials, Crisis Group works to increase the likelihood of peaceful political transition and enhance Algeria’s contribution to stability and conflict resolution in a troubled neighbourhood.

CrisisWatch Algeria

Unchanged Situation

Legislative elections marred by repression and lowest voter turnout since country’s independence. Legislative elections called by President Tebboune with view to bolstering his legitimacy and extinguishing long-running Hirak protest movement held 12 June amid calls for boycott; voter turnout lowest since country’s independence at 23%. Constitutional Council 23 June announced final results, with ruling party National Liberation Front (FLN) winning 98 out of 407 seats in parliament’s lower house followed by independent candidates (84 seats), Islamist party Movement of Society for Peace (65 seats) and FLN’s traditional ally National Democratic Rally (58 seats). Violent incidents reported on election day in several localities of Kabylia province, including clashes between youth and police in Bejaïa and Bouïra cities. Tebboune 30 June named Finance Minister Ayman Benabderrahmane as new PM, asking him to form new govt. Ahead of vote, authorities continued to step up repression, notably preventing 4 and 11 June Hirak protests in capital Algiers. Hirak 4 June launched online campaign to call for liberation of political prisoners, and NGO National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees 21 June recorded 261 “prisoners of conscience” across country, up from around 200 late May and 66 mid-April. Presidential decree 10 June widened Penal Code’s definition of acts of terrorism to include any acts “undermining the integrity of the national territory”, opening new avenue for prosecution of Hirak activists. Authorities same day arrested prominent Hirak figure Karim Tabbou and journalists Ihsane El Kadi and Khaled Drareni, released them after 24 hours. Authorities 13 June cancelled France-based TV channel France 24’s accreditation citing “clear and repeated hostility toward our country and its institutions”. Govt 7 June scheduled local elections for Sept.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

20 Apr 2020
[...] here we have three crises -- economic, political and the virus -- potentially converging at a time when the population is still highly mobilized and trust in the [Algerian] state is low. Bloomberg

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa
2 Apr 2020
The [Algerian] protest movement could be made more determined in the future due to the economic and social consequences of the [COVID-19] restrictions, as well as the repression. The National

Michaël Béchir Ayari

Senior Analyst, Tunisia
10 Mar 2020
[The fall in oil prices] may not be so bad, if it is only for a month or two, but if it is for longer, [Algeria] will have to speed up its adoption of austerity measures. Financial Times

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa
5 Mar 2019
The army and intelligence services [in Algeria] are still important but not as an autonomous pole of power. Financial Times

Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel
1 Mar 2019
Protests in Algeria are not about rule by one man but a system. One that has empowered a business class with close links to the state while progressively stifling economic and political liberties and excluding an earnest, educated youth. Twitter

Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel

Latest Updates

Arab Protests: A Wicked Dance Between Rulers and Subjects

A new wave of popular protests has jolted an already deeply unsettled Arab world. Nine years ago, uprisings across the region signalled a rejection of corrupt autocratic rule that failed to deliver jobs, basic services and reliable infrastructure. Yet regime repression and the protests’ lack of organisation, leadership and unified vision thwarted hopes of a new order. As suddenly as the uprisings erupted, as quickly they descended into violence. What followed was either brutal civil war or regime retrenchment. Tunisia stands as the sole, still fragile, exception.

Originally published in Valdai Club

En Algérie, la rue met le pouvoir face à ses contradictions

Une série de protestations contre « le mandat de trop » s’est emparée du pays depuis l’annonce de la candidature du président Bouteflika à l’élection d'avril. Dans ce questions-réponses, notre analyste Michaël Ayari, de retour d’Algérie, se penche sur les ressorts d’une mobilisation inédite et examine les scénarios possibles.

Also available in English

Breaking Algeria’s Economic Paralysis

Political paralysis in oil-dependent Algeria has blocked much-needed economic reform. To avoid a new era of instability, the government should increase transparency and accountability within state institutions and the private sector, as well as improve opportunities for the country’s burgeoning youth.

Also available in العربية, Français

The Youth Movement in Sahrawi Refugee Camps

Refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, have long been run by the Polisario movement, which seeks an independent state in Western Sahara, also claimed by Morocco. But a new generation of Sahrawi refugees is growing fractious as aid dwindles and diplomatic efforts fail to deliver a settlement.

Algeria’s South: Trouble’s Bellwether

As waves of protests have hit the hydrocarbon-rich Algerian south since 2013, authorities maintained a tenuous peace through handouts, repression and policing. To calm tensions, the state needs to clarify policies, communicate with local protestors and address underlying issues of governance.

Also available in العربية, Français