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Algeria Fails to End Kabylie Boycott of Elections

Algeria Fails to End Kabylie Boycott of Elections

Monday, 5 April, 2021 - 10:30
Algerian students take part in a demonstration to mark the 63rd anniversary of National Student Day in the capital Algiers on May 19, 2019. (AFP)

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has failed to secure the participation of the Socialist Forces Front (FFS), the oldest opposition party, in the legislative elections scheduled for June 12.

The Kabylie region will therefore boycott of the elections, which will now be limited to the Islamist parties and groups affiliated with the regime.

After holding a two-day meeting of its national council, the Front announced released on Saturday a “political list” explaining the reasons for its boycott of the early elections, which were declared after Tebboune dissolved the lower house of parliament in early February.

The Front stated that the conditions for holding the polls have not been met and that the elections are not a solution to the multidimensional crisis in the country.

“Consequently, the FFS cannot participate in this election,” it said in a resolution.

Algeria is facing “politically, economically and socially disturbing circumstances,” in addition to the risks threatening its stability and security, said the Front in reference to the situation in Libya and Mali, and the recent tensions with Morocco.

The Front called for meeting the public demands for a democratic change of the system, denouncing the official discourse against parties and the constant restrictions on political action.

The party considered silencing the media and the continuous arrest of Hirak movement activists among the reasons that “do not encourage participation” in the elections.

Members of the national council of the socialist forces described the upcoming legislation as a life line for “a regime that refuses to change,” saying that electing a new parliament is part of a false effort to revive state institutions.

It called on the authorities to take measures that allow Algerians to freely exercise their right to self-determination, including respecting basic freedoms, allowing political actors and civil society activists to appear in the media and launching inclusive dialogue.

The Front stressed the need to set a consensual political, economic and social program with a timetable to monitor its implementation, followed by fair and transparent elections.

The party was formed by Hocine Ait Ahmed in 1963 in Tizi Ouzou in the Kabylie region.

The party's first national secretary, Youcef Aouchiche, and head of its presidential committee, Hakim Belahcel, pushed towards taking part in the elections. However, members of the National Council, representing all regions, including the majority holding Kabylie, opposed the move resulting in the party’s boycott.

Tebboune received the party leadership last month in an attempt to persuade it to participate in the polls.

The president is aware that the elections will be incomplete if they are rejected by the Kabylie region, and he believes FFS is the only party that could put an end to the boycott.

The president is not willing to face “zero elections” in the Amazigh-speaking Kabylie region, after their boycott of the constitutional referendum last November and the presidential elections at the end of 2019.

The opposition Rally for Culture and Democracy and Workers' Party, with the largest representation of Kabylie, will not participate in the elections either.

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