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Algeria Opposition in Disarray as 2019 Presidential Elections Loom

Algeria Opposition in Disarray as 2019 Presidential Elections Loom

Tuesday, 18 December, 2018 - 09:15
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. (Reuters)
Algiers - Boualem Goumrassa
Severe disputes have been plaguing the Algerian opposition as the country gears up for presidential elections in April 2019.

The differences center on proposals and initiatives over the polls, prompting the largest Islamic opposition party to suggest postponing the elections.

Head of the Movement for the Society of Peace Abderrazak Makri issued on Monday a strongly-worded criticism of the Mouwatana Movement that includes former Prime Minister Ahmed Benbitour, heads of parties, journalists and civil society activists.

“There are some figures who practice politics by using their brains and others who practice it using their whims and spite,” Makri said in a social media post.

“Those who understand economy, society, politics and international affairs, will realize the severity of the situation in Algeria after the 2019 elections,” he added.

“They realize the importance of national agreement and the dangers of placing political aspirations above the country’s stability and future,” he warned.

Two weeks ago, Makri had called for postponing the elections because there were no “serious” candidates running because everyone was allegedly waiting for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to announce his candidacy for a fifth term.

There is a general belief in the country that the president’s run for another term could prompt potential candidates to boycott the polls because he is certain to guarantee reelection, charged Makri.

He warned that his candidacy would pose a “danger” to Algeria.

He noted however, that the election of another candidate could leave the country on an unknown path. He therefore, suggested postponing the polls for a year in order to launch “real dialogue between the ruling authority and opposition over the future of the country.”

Mouwatana had accused Makri on Sunday of seeking to extend Bouteflika’s term by making such a proposal.

“The suggestion to extend the life of a dying political system under the pretext of being unable to find an alternative to the president is simply a betrayal of the hope for change shared by the Algerians,” it said.

Such sides are false members of the opposition and their true identity is exposed when they blatantly suggest the violation of the constitution and what little is left of legitimacy, it continued.

“What have they been promised in exchange for such a proposal?” it asked in reference to claims that Makri may have been offered a seat in government in return for extending the president’s term.

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