Algeria elects new president amid protests

A new president is elected in Algeria after a wave of protests calling for a renewal of the policy. Former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune was elected the new commander of the country after winning 58% of the vote. The elections suffered a strong boycott by the population and, therefore, the number of voters was the lowest in the country’s history. The National Electoral Authority indicated that participation was 39.83%, the lowest in history, equivalent to about 9 million people.

Every Friday, the Algerians have been taking to the streets to demand a complete overhaul of political structures in a movement called “Hirak”. The demonstrations began in February. In April, then-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who had been in power for 20 years, resigned after strong popular pressure.

Protest at 13 December 2019, Photo: Farouk Batiche/dpa

New elections were proposed in July. However, the candidacies made at the time were rejected by the Algerian Constitutional Council, and it was up to interim President Abdelkader Bensalah to call new elections, which took place last Thursday (12) and the result was released the following day.

Tebboune was prime minister of the Bouteflika government and held various positions in government. After being elected he sought to open dialogue with the opposition and said he would start consultations for a new constitution that would be approved by referendum. But the protesters want all Buteflika supporters or supporters to leave because, they say, these politicians are part of a traditional ruling elite that has been in power since independence in 1962.

International Relations

French President Emmanuel Macron called on the Algerian authorities to establish a dialogue with the population. US diplomacy spokesman Morgan Ortagus said the country wants to “work with the president-elect to promote security and prosperity in the region.”

Brazilian Partnership

Algeria is the second-largest Brazilian trading partner in Africa and the Arab world. Both countries have important technical cooperation projects, with initiatives in the areas of health and vocational training.

With information from ANBA