Algeria. In May elections were held for Parliament's
lower house, the National People's Assembly. The election
was the first held after the constitutional amendment 2016
that reintroduced the rule of a maximum of two terms of
office for the president. As in all elections in the 2000s,
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's party won the National
Liberation Front (FLN). This time, the party received 161 of
462 seats, while FLN's coalition partner, the Democratic
National Assembly (RND), received 100 seats. In third place
with 34 seats came the largest Islamist party, the Social
Movement for Peace (MSP) in alliance with the Party for
Change. The turnout was only 38%. According to MSP leader
Abderrazak Makri, the regime was guilty of electoral fraud
and harassment and violence against Islamist supporters.
Countryaah.com, the period after the election became politically messy.
Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal surprisingly left his post
at the end of May and was replaced by former Housing
Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune. After almost three months, in
mid-August, Tebboune was also fired. President Bouteflika
gave no reason for his decision, but according to
speculation it could be a power struggle within the internal
circle around the president. New Prime Minister became RND
leader Ahmed Ouyahia, who thus assumed this office for the
fourth time. During his time as head of government, Tebboune
announced that work and residence permits should be issued
to African migrants who are in Algeria without valid
documents. It is estimated that in Algeria there will be
about 100,000 refugees on their way to Libya and from there
to Europe. In October, the 80-year-old Bouteflika's ability
to lead the country was challenged in a joint statement by
three prominent Algerians. The president, who has been
sitting in office since 1999, has health problems and,
according to the statement, should not be allowed to stand
in the 2019 presidential election.
In September, the Algerian leader of the Ahmadiya
religious movement was sentenced to six months imprisonment
for blaspheming Islam. The movement originated in India and
is considered by most Muslims not to belong to Islam. A
campaign against Ahmadiya has been going on in Algeria since
2016 and nearly 300 of the movement's approximately 2,000
supporters in the country have been imprisoned.
The low world market price of oil creates major economic
problems for Algeria. In September, the government presented
its plan to reduce the budget deficit. According to this,
the central bank will print more money which will then
immediately be lent out to the central government.
International commentators warned that action would lead to
increased inflation, which in turn risks causing social
unrest when people get less for money.
In November, Algeria and neighboring Mauritania agreed to
open a border crossing between the countries for the first
time since independence in the 1960s. This will be located
near the city of Tindouf in western Algeria. The border area
consists of a desert where various armed groups often clash
and where smuggling of weapons, oil and migrants grazes.