2019 Algerian presidential election

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Poster announcing the presidential election before it was postponed

The 2019 Algerian presidential election is expected to be held in Algeria on 12 December 2019.[1] The election had originally been scheduled for 18 April, but was postponed due to sustained weekly protests against plans by the incumbent president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run for a fifth term.[2] Bouteflika resigned on 2 April and Abdelkader Bensalah was elected acting president by parliament a week later.[3] On 10 April the election was re-scheduled for 4 July.[4] On 2 June the Constitutional Council postponed the elections again, citing a lack of candidates.[5] A new electoral authority, Autorité nationale indépendante des élections (ANIE), was created in mid-September as an alternative to the existing Haute instance indépendante de surveillance des élections [fr] (HIISE) defined by the 2016 constitution.[6] The election was re-scheduled for 12 December 2019 and ANIE, of disputed constitutional validity,[7][6] announced five valid candidates on 2 November.[8] In their 200000 strong protest on 1 November,[9] Algerian protestors rejected the 12 December election and called for a radical change in the system to take place first.[10] The Forces of the Democratic Alternative (FDA) alliance and the Justice and Development Front also called for boycotting the 12 December election, and the FDA called for creating a constituent assembly.[11]

Electoral system[edit]

The President of Algeria is elected using the two-round system; if no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the first round, a second round will be held.[12]

Electoral bodies[edit]

The Algerian Constitution of 2016 created the Haute instance indépendante de surveillance des élections [fr] (HIISE) to have overall responsibility for organising elections. For the third attempt to organise the 2019 presidential election, the Algerian lower and upper houses of parliament created the Autorité nationale indépendante des élections (ANIE). Lawyer Faïz Moussi and constitutional expert Ahmed Betatache described the procedures for creating ANIE as rushed and unconstitutional.[6]. Fouad Makhlouf, secretary-general of HIISE, had stated earlier, in April 2019, that the replacement of HIISE's role by an alternative electoral body would be unconstitutional.[7]

Background[edit]

Early 2019 protests and internet censorship[edit]

Plans for a presidential election in Algeria in 2019 were a major factor motivating the start of the 2019 Algerian protests, with protestors objecting to the reelection of Abdelaziz Bouteflika[13].

On 22 February 2019, protests took place in Algiers, Oran, Sétif, Annaba and other Algerian cities over Bouteflika's bid to continue for a fifth term.[14][15] Algerians reported difficulty accessing online services and the NetBlocks internet observatory published technical evidence of multiple targeted internet disruptions at demonstration flashpoints in Tizi Ouzou and around Algiers.[16][13]

Candidates[edit]

Bensalah is not eligible to participate in the presidential election.[17][18]

18 April 2019 cancelled election[edit]

On 3 March 2019, a day after his 82nd birthday and while undergoing medical tests in Switzerland, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika formally submitted his candidacy, but said in a statement read on state TV that he would not serve a full term if re-elected. Instead, he promised to organise a national conference and set a date for an early election which he would not participate in. The announcement followed weeks of protests against his plan to seek a fifth term in office.[19] A week later, on 11 March 2019, Bouteflika withdrew from the race and postponed the election.[20]

On 1 November 2018, journalist Ghani Mahdi [ar] announced that he would be a candidate in the election.[21]

On 4 April 2019, Ali Ghediri, a former Director of Human Resources at the Ministry of Defense, announced his candidacy.[22]

4 July 2019 cancelled election[edit]

The 4 July 2019 election had two candidates who applied: Abdelhakim Hamadi from Jijel, born 23 August 1965, who trained as a vet, worked in the state sector and became a businessman; and Hamid Touahri, a aeronautical mechanical engineer who worked in medical sales and construction and managed an audiovisual production firm.[23] Both candidates' applications were lodged on 25 May, and later rejected by the Constitutional Council, which cancelled the election due to what it called the "impossibility" of organising the election.[24]

12 December 2019 election[edit]

Potential candidates Ahmed Gaid Salah and Noureddine Bedoui won't run.[citation needed][clarification needed] Former prime minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem was expected to be a candidate. The Tajamou Amel El-Djazaïr former minister Amar Ghoul (in prison at the time) announced his participation in the vote.[citation needed]

145 people picked up their application forms, including:[25]

  • Ali Benflis, former head of government;
  • Abdelaziz Belaid, president of the El Moustakbal Front;
  • Aissa Belhadi, president of the Front de la bonne gouvernance;
  • Abdelkader Bengrina, president of the El Bina movement;
  • Ali Zeghdoud, president of the Algerian Rassemblement party;
  • Mourad Arroudj, president of Errafah;
  • Belkacem Sahli, president of the Republican National Alliance;
  • Abdelmadjid Tebboune, former Prime Minister;
  • Rabah Bencherif;
  • Azzedine Mihoubi, former Minister of Culture;
  • Rabah Bencherif;
  • Souleymen Bakhlili, journalist;
  • Ahmed Ben Nâamane, writer;
  • Abderrahmane Arrar, coordinator of the Civil Force for Change.

The five candidates announced by Mohamed Chorfi, head of the electoral authority, on 2 November 2019 are:[8]

Al Jazeera English described the five candidates as "all part of the political establishment", whose departure from power is one of the main aims of the 2019 Algerian protests.[27] Thomson Reuters described the candidates as "men on the ballot [who] all have close links with the establishment, and though some of them pushed for reforms, many still see them as part of an entrenched, unchanging elite."[28]

Boycott of 12 December election[edit]

Protestors[edit]

In the weekly protests that continued the early 2019 protests that led to Bouteflika dropping his candidacy for the initially scheduled election and resigning from the presidency, twenty thousand protestors called for the 12 December election to be boycotted on the grounds that the system of people in power under Bouteflika remained in place.[8] In the 1 November 2019 demonstration of two hundred thousand demonstrators, on the 37th Friday weekly protest, demonstrators called for all members of the system of power in place to be dismissed and for a radical change in the political system.[10] They rejected the 12 December election, with slogans describing it as "an election with the gangs" and as an "election organised by a corrupt power [which] is a trap for idiots" (French: les élections d’un pouvoir corrompu est un piège à cons).[9]

Prominent individuals and organisations[edit]

Former prime minister Ahmed Benbitour, former minister Abdelaziz Rahabi, Ali Fawzi Rebaine, Mohamed Said and Rachid Nekkaz, announced that they are not candidates because of the political climate.[citation needed]

On 28 September, Abdallah Djaballah, president of the Justice and Development Front, announced that his party will not take part in the elections.[11] This was followed by the Society for Peace Movement, which made a similar decision for the same reasons.[citation needed]

The Forces of the Democratic Alternative, a coalition including the Socialist Forces Front (FFS), the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD), the Workers' Party (PT), the Socialist Workers Party (PST), the Union for Change and Progress (UCP), the Democratic and Social Movement (MDS), the Party for Secularism and Democracy (PLD) and the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH),[29] announced their refusal to participate in the vote.[11][30]

Mayors[edit]

In September, 56 mayors in Kabylie stated that they would refuse to organise the practical aspects of the 12 December election in their municipalities and would do everything in their power to prevent the election taking place.[31]

Timeline of 12 December election[edit]

Convocation and candidate validation[edit]

  • September 2019: Convocation of the electorate by the Acting Head of State
  • 26 October 2019: Deadline for applications
  • 3 November 2019: Validation and publication of the list of candidates by the Constitutional Council

Campaign[edit]

The offficial campaign period is from 13 November 2019, the opening of the election campaign, to 9 December 2019, the final day on which campaigning is allowed.[citation needed]

On 17 November, the day that the five candidates opened their campaigns, protestors objecting to the election, perceiving it as a continuation of the same group of people retaining political power, posted sacks of garbage on panels allocated for presidential candidates' campaign posters. Protestor Smain described the symbolism by stating that the election "is completely rejected ... as garbage".[28]

First round[edit]

  • 12 December 2019: First round.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Algerian presidential election fixed for December 12, says interim president". France 24. 16 September 2019.
  2. ^ Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika drops bid for fifth term BBC News, 11 March 2019
  3. ^ Abdelkader Bensalah named Algeria's interim president France24, 9 April 2019
  4. ^ "Algeria to hold elections on July 4: presidency". Al Jazeera. 10 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Algeria elections planned for 4 July 'impossible', authorities say". BBC News. 2 June 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Hammadi, Souhila (16 September 2019). "Lois organiques encadrant les élections – Bâclage des procédures et violation de la Constitution" [Basic laws defining elections – Rushed procedures and violation of the constitution]. Liberté (Algeria) (in French). Archived from the original on 4 December 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  7. ^ a b Abdeladim, Farid (11 April 2019). "Fouad Makhlouf, SG de la Hiise « La création d'une instance d'organisation des élections est illégale »" [Fouad Makhlouf, Secretary-General of HIISE, "The creation of an electoral body for organising elections is illegal"]. Liberté (Algeria) (in French). Archived from the original on 4 December 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  8. ^ a b c "Five candidates to run in Algeria's presidential election next month". Thomson Reuters. 2 November 2019. Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  9. ^ a b Djouadi, Farouk (1 November 2019). "Marche du 1er novembre à Alger : l'incroyable force de la révolution pacifique". El Watan. Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Algerians protest election plan, mark independence war". Al Jazeera English. 1 November 2019. Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Ouarabi, Mokrane Ait (30 September 2019). "Présidentielle du 12 décembre : Le front du boycott s'élargit" [12 December presidential election: the boycott front widens]. El Watan (in French). Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  12. ^ People's Democratic Republic of Algeria: Election for President IFES
  13. ^ a b Farid Y. Farid (11 March 2019). "Algerians have been out in force against their president's bid for a fifth term". Quartz Africa. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Algeria rocked by mass protest against Bouteflika re-election bid". Middle East Eye. 22 February 2019.
  15. ^ "Algerian police use tear gas as rare anti-government protests enter third day". Reuters. 24 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Multiple targeted internet disruptions in Algeria amid mass-demonstrations". NetBlocks. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  17. ^ "Algerian Constitutional Council declares presidency vacant". TASS. 3 April 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Abdelkader Bensalah, un fidèle de Bouteflika qui va assurer l'intérim en Algérie". Le Monde (in French). 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  19. ^ "In face of protests, Algeria leader vows to quit early if re-elected". AFP. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  20. ^ "Algeria president drops bid for fifth term". BBC. 11 March 2019. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  21. ^ "HOME PAGE,البرنامج-الرئأسي". ghani mahdi (in Arabic).
  22. ^ "Ali Ghediri premier candidat déclaré à la prochaine présidentielle". Algérie Patriotique. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  23. ^ Mouloudj, Mohamed (28 May 2019). "Ils sont les seuls à avoir déposé leur dossier au conseil constitutionnel – présidentielle du 4 juillet: Ce qu'on sait des 2 candidats" [They are the only ones who lodged their applications with the constitutional council – 4 July presidential election: what we know of the two candidates]. Liberté (Algeria) (in French). Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  24. ^ "L'élection présidentielle du 4 juillet annulée" [Cancellation of the 4 July presidential election]. TSA Algérie (in French). 2 June 2019. Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  25. ^ "Présidentielle du 12 décembre: 145 postulants retirent les formulaires de souscription" [12 December presidential election: 145 candidates retrieved their application forms]. Algérie Presse Service (in French). 18 October 2019. Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  26. ^ Lamlili, Nadia (25 May 2017). "Premier ministre d'Abdelaziz Bouteflika ?" [Abdelaziz Bouteflika's Prime Minister?]. Jeune Afrique (in French). Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  27. ^ "Algeria presidential election: Five candidates announced". Al Jazeera English. 3 November 2019. Archived from the original on 3 November 2019. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  28. ^ a b Chikhi, Lamine (17 November 2019). "Algerian protesters attack 'garbage' presidential campaign". Thomson Reuters. Archived from the original on 17 November 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  29. ^ Lamriben, Hocine (10 September 2019). "Réunies hier au siège du RCD : Les Forces de l'Alternative démocratique rejettent «l'agenda de la présidentielle»". El Watan. Archived from the original on 3 November 2019. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  30. ^ Ouarabi, Mokrane Ait (4 November 2019). "PLD : «Cette présidentielle ne garantit pas le départ du système»" [This presidential election doesn't guarantee that the removal of the system]. El Watan (in French). Archived from the original on 5 November 2019. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  31. ^ Zahir, Boukhelifa (24 September 2019). "Kabylie, vers un boycott massif des élections du 12 décembre" [Kabylie, twoards a massive boycott of the 12 December election]. Kab News (in French). Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Retrieved 3 November 2019.