By: Hashim Arain
The situation in Algeria is intense after a controversial presidential election took place. Algerian President Abdelaziz Boutefilka won his fifth election recently, which has sparked outcries of fraud by the Algerian public. According to the site Digital Journal, a group of protesters gathered last month to shine a light on the election fraud that they say is happening. Digital Journal also reports that President Boutefilka is close with the Algerian military, and he has been blamed for the infrastructure and corruption in the country.
Digital Journal reports that the youth in Algeria are mostly unemployed, and they blame Boutafilka for failing to put term limits on presidents, which is one of the main reasons why there’s strong opposition to his recent reelection. According to the Frontier Post Algerian, political observers thought that Boutafilka would not run again, due to health problems. That is why it was a bit of a shock that he ran and won another term.
The Frontier Post also notes that Boutafilka needs to be cautious about responding to Arab Spring like protests because most of the country is tired of the economic hardships that they face every day. The Frontier Post also says that the Boutafilka government needs to be careful on how they handle the Al Qaeda linked groups in Algeria, particularly after the events in Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt and Libya.
There has also been an outbreak of violence as the New York Times notes; these attacks are in response to an Islamist extremist group, who lost three of its members recently. The New York Times also notes that the group known as A.Q.I.M tried to interfere in the recent election, but failed to do so. Things don’t seem to be going well in Algeria, so it’s going to be difficult for the Boutafilka Government to get anything done.
Another reason why it is going to be hard for this Algerian government to get stuff done is because half of the Algerian public thinks that Botafilka was reelected unfairly. Also, the public is questioning whether or not he is fit to rule, due to the state of his health.
I think that Boutafilka was most likely reelected unfairly, and even though some reports have said that he was the only choice for stability in this election, he will have a tough time governing considering the factors in the region. Algerians are right to raise suspicions and concerns about Boutafilka, given how past elections have gone.
Algeria’s future is uncertain, and it may have the potential to become messy if there’s continued political violence. There might be the possibility of an Arab Spring like uprising that may occur if things don’t start to improve in Algeria. International observers and especially the Algerian government need to keep an eye out for what happens next in this reason.
Hopefully, this Algerian government can contain the influence of terrorists in the region because from past political unrest, it has definitely not worked out if their influence is prevalent in the region. It should be interesting to see where the future of Algeria is headed; I just hope it’s a calm one.