Algeria Culture

Algeria Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Algeria

According to AREACODESEXPLORER.COM, Algeria is a country located in Africa. The spread of daily newspapers in Algeria is relatively limited (27 newspaper excl. Per 1,000 residents, 2000). In 1994 there were six daily newspapers with a total circulation of about 1.2 million copies. El-Moudjahid (‘Freedom Fighter’) is Algeria’s largest daily newspaper (390,000 copies) and the government’s official language pipeline. It started in 1965 as a body for FLN and is published in both an Arabic and a French edition. The smaller regional newspapers, Ash-Shab (or Ech-Chaab, ‘The People’) in Constantine and al-Jumhuriyya (or El Djoumhouria, ‘The Republic’) in Oran, on the other hand, have been completely Arabized.

The press, like the news agency Algérie Presse Service (APS, founded in 1962), the radio company Entreprise Nationale de Radiodiffusion Sonore (ENRS) and the TV company Entreprise Nationale de Télévision (ENTV), are subject to the Ministry of Information. Nevertheless, the French-language weekly Algérie-Actualité (250,000 copies) has had many critical reports. An important step in the development was taken in 1988, when a FLN-independent journalist association was formed. The new constitution from 1989 also gave the media greater independence. After the 1992 coup, however, several newspapers have been banned from publishing bans, and the unrest of recent years. several journalists murdered by Islamist extremists have forced the media into great caution.

There are 244 radio and 110 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


Algeria, together with neighboring countries in northwestern Africa, shares a culture with roots in ancient Arab-Berber traditions. Foreign intrusions, however, have left traces in the form of, for example, Roman ruins at Djemila, Tipaza and Timgad, while other buildings are reminiscent of Ottoman (Turkish) or Spanish architecture.

During the French colonial period, the country’s old Muslim culture was pushed aside. Algerian Muslims’ struggle to restore Islam’s dominance is therefore not only religiously conditioned but also an attempt to preserve the older indigenous culture and lifestyle that the colonialists suppressed. The French era has left clear traces in contemporary Algerian art and literature, among other things by creating a secularized middle class with an interest in Western-influenced culture.

Literature and poetry are available in both Arabic and Berber languages. Oral storytelling is still alive despite the rapid urbanization that has weakened traditional cultural expressions. At parties, family gatherings and meetings, it is common to sing and perform poetry and stories for easy accompaniment. The Raï art – a kind of modern lamentation with political and social content that emerged in the cosmopolitan Oran – has flourished in cabarets and cafes. The big Raï stars include Cheikha Remitti (1923-2006), Bellemou Messaoud (born 1947) and Cheb Khaled (born 1960).

One of the country’s most famous musicians was the Berber Lounès Matoub, who was murdered in 1998. As a red thread in his music was the message of the Berber’s right to maintain his cultural identity. His music was banned in Algerian radio and TV, and the terrorist group GIA (see Modern History) threatened him with death. In July 2011, two GIA members were sentenced to twelve years in prison for the murder.

French writers born in Algeria, such as Albert Camus (1913-1960) and Emmanuel Roblès (1914-1995), formed the influential Algiers school before independence in 1962, helping to make many native writers famous. Among Algerian writers who have become style-forming are Kateb Yacine (1929–1989). Other writers of importance are Assia Djebar (1936–2015) and Rachid Boudjedra (born 1941). The novelist Abdelouahab Aissaoui (born 1985) was awarded an international award in 2020 with the support of the British Booker Prize Foundation to encourage translations of Arabic fiction into English.

The filmmaker Merzak Allouache (born 1944) has been noted far beyond the borders of Algeria, including for the film Salut Cousin! (1996) and El Taaib (Le Repenti in French, The Repentant in English) who won the award at the Cannes 2012. The film Battle of Algiers, which depicts the liberation war against France and was rewarded with a gold lion in Venice in 1966, was made by an Italian director but not least in Algeria is considered a classic. In France, it was previously banned.



Tebboune appoints new government

December 28

Newly elected President Tebboune appoints Abdelaziz Djerad as prime minister and asks him to form government. The 65-year-old political scientist strikes a conciliatory tone and promises to work to gain people’s trust. Djerad has been preceded by two acting prime ministers during the ongoing crisis of confidence between the people and the elite: Noureddine Bedoui, who resigned when Tebboune was installed at the presidential post, and Sabri Boukadoum, who maintained the post for a few days.

Powerful army chief dead

December 23

Algeria’s 79-year-old Army Chief Ahmed Gaïd Salah, who has since emerged President Bouteflika’s departure as the country’s most powerful man, has died. Algerian media reports that the cause of death is heart disease. For the time being, his position is taken over by General Saïd Changriha.

New president installed

December 19

The newly elected President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is holding office. Hirak, the protest movement that called for a boycott of the election, has continued to demonstrate peacefully against the election result. The incumbent President Abdelkader Bensalah, who has left office after the installation ceremony, promises that Tebboune will devote much of his attention to the popular wishes expressed during the demonstrations.

Low presidential elections

December 12

Abdelmadjid Tebboune is elected president, according to the official election result with just over 58 percent of the votes cast. Demonstrations and boycott calls for presidential elections, as all five candidates released have backgrounds in the old, suspicious political elite. Voting does not even reach as much as 40 percent, the lowest so far in an Algerian presidential election. Especially the foreign votes are few. Tebboune, who was prime minister for a few months during Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s presidency, has previously also been housing minister.

Strict punishment for corruption

December 10

Two former prime ministers who served during Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s time as president are sentenced to long sentences in a tight corruption case related to the automotive industry: Ahmed Ouyahia sentenced to 15 years and Abdelmalek Sellal to 12 years in prison. The penalty is set by the higher court in March 2020. A total of 19 people, including both top politicians and business leaders, have been charged with, among other things, money laundering and abuse of power (see also June 12, June 17 and June 20). It is the first time since Algeria gained independence that former prime ministers have been tried in court. A former business minister, Abdeslam Bouchouareb, who is believed to have gone into exile, is sentenced to 20 years in prison.


Opening for increased foreign ownership

November 14

Parliament’s House of Representatives voted in favor of the 2020 state budget and a new law that will allow increased foreign ownership in oil and gas companies, among other things. The purpose is to attract investment. However, majority ownership should remain in Algerian hands in sectors of strategic importance. The government will in future be able to raise loans abroad. On November 28, both the Budget and the Energy Act are passed in the House of Parliament, but the laws also require the President’s signature; In anticipation of the December 12 presidential election, it is unclear when they can take effect. The Algerian protest movement, which has been demonstrating against the country’s political elite throughout the year, dislikes major decisions being made before a new and more trustworthy state leadership is in place.

Imprisoned for the Barbican flag

November 12

A Algerian court sentenced 28 people to imprisonment, since they carried Barbican flags at protest meetings against the regime. They are convicted of “undermining the state”. 20 protesters will get their verdicts later. In some respects, the Berber minority has been granted stronger rights in recent years, but still sees itself as discriminated against. In June, the country’s powerful army chief banned all flags other than the Algerian national flag at the mass rallies held by the protest movement every Friday since February 22.

Green light for five candidates

November 3

The electoral authority has approved five candidates for the December 12 presidential election. Among them are the two former prime ministers Ali Benflis and Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who are considered favorites. The others are RND party leader Azzedine Mihoubi, Abdelkader Bengrina who has represented the moderate Islamist party MSP and held the ministerial post for tourism and Abdelaziz Belaïd, who is the leader of the Future Front party but has background in the old state-carrying party FLN. The Constitutional Council must also state its views before the list of approved presidential candidates is completed. The protests against the election continue simultaneously on streets and squares. The protesters want to see legislative changes, so that a political elite linked to the former head of state Boutelika will not be able to use the election to park a successor at the presidential post.


Lawyers in a strike

October 27th

Prosecutors and judges initiate a strike in support of the judiciary’s independence. Dismissals in the system recently implemented by the Justice Department affect 3,000 of the approximately 6,000 people working in the professions. Judges have a key function in election procedures in Algeria. Presidential elections are to be held soon and the lawyers’ union organization believes that the government has made changes to reduce the independence of the courts. The strike lasts for two weeks. It ceases when the lawyers have been promised to be able to appeal redeployments.

RND leaders want to become president

October 23

The first candidate registers for the December 12 presidential election. First out is Azzedine Mihoubi, leader of the RND, a party that was part of the government during Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s time as president. Mihoubi, who was minister of culture for three governments between 2015 and 2019, became party leader in July when the representative was arrested in the framework of a corruption investigation. When the time for presidential candidates to sign up expires at midnight on October 26, 23 willing have signed up, including two former prime ministers: Ali Benflis and Abdelmadjid Tebboune.


Prison for the president’s brother

September 25

Said Bouteflika is sentenced to 15 years in prison. He is the brother of the former president and was long regarded, during Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s illness, as the real ruler of Algeria. The verdict is announced by a military court in Blida, which tried on Said Bouteflika, along with three other suspects (two security chiefs and one party leader), planning to introduce a state of emergency and dismiss Army chief Ahmed Gaïd Salah in March, when the wave of protests against the regime began to grow. All four are convicted of conspiring against the state and undermining the position of the armed forces (see May 4, 2019). The sentence will be 15 years in prison for all. The judges are appealed but confirmed for three of them on February 10, 2020, also that of a military court. (The fourth, leftist Louisa Hanoune, gets his sentence shortened and released.)

Party leaders in FLN are imprisoned

September 19

Mohamed Djemai, who was elected chairman of the old power party FLN after Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s departure from the presidential post in April, is arrested. Leaders for several other parties are reported to have been arrested in recent weeks.

Several protest leaders arrested

September 19

One of the leaders of the recurring demonstrations, Fodil Boumala, who has a background in state television, is arrested at his home east of Algiers. The following day, he was arrested on charges of “undermining national unity”. He is the third leader of the protest in just a week to be imprisoned on these grounds. Karim Tabbou has been arrested a week earlier and Samir Benlarbi the day before Boumala. In recent weeks, police have also arrested protesters in connection with the protests that took place on Fridays. Formally, demonstrations have been banned since 2001, but this year’s protest wave has until now been largely tolerated.

The tone is sharpened against protesters

September 18

After six months of mass protests, the military leadership seems to be taking a more determined stance on the protesters. Police have been ordered to stop protesters from elsewhere approaching the capital Algiers, says Army Chief Ahmed Gaïd Salah. Vehicles will be confiscated and the owners can expect to be fined.

Presidential election in December

September 15th

The next presidential election will be held on December 12, interim President Bensalah announces in a televised speech. A few days earlier, Parliament has passed legislative changes that underpin the election, despite opposition from opposition parties. That the election must be held before the end of the year is a requirement driven by the mighty army chief Ahmed Gaïd Salah. Political activists who, through mass protests, have driven away a number of the old regime’s representatives, especially former President Bouteflika, would rather want important state institutions reformed before a new leadership is elected.


Crowd tragedy at concert

22 August

Five young people lose their lives in the hustle and bustle of people gathered in Algiers to listen to rapper Soolking. There will be criticism of the security arrangements at the concert, which has been arranged by Onda, a government institution that monitors the rights of cultural practitioners. The following day, Onda’s boss gets fired by the Prime Minister. Two days later, the Minister of Culture leaves and the National Police Chief is forced to leave his post.

Bouteflika’s Minister of Justice arrested

22 August

Former Justice Minister Tayeb Louh is being arrested on suspicion of abuse of power. Louh was one of President Bouteflika’s confidants and was a member of the government that resigned in March.


The Minister of Justice is replaced

31 July

Interim President Abdelkader Bensalah gives Justice Minister Slimane Brahmi the kick. He is replaced by Belkacem Zeghmati, who previously served as prosecutor. The reason is not announced, but the exchange is believed to be linked to the corruption investigations initiated as a result of popular protests. The wave of demonstrations also led to the resignation of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April. So far, two former prime ministers, six other former ministers, a former police chief and several businessmen have been arrested so far.

The opposition occupies the post of President

July 10

Parliament votes to give the President’s office a representative of the opposition. The new President Slimane Chenine from the small Islamist party is named the Movement for National Construction (see Political system). Chenine replaces Mouad Bouchareb from the FLN government party, who resigned on July 2 following popular protests. FLN states that through the election of Chenine, the party “let higher interests go before the party’s interests”.

Senator ur Bouteflyas circuit grips

July 7

Djamel Ould Abbes, Deputy Speaker of the Senate, is arrested. He has been one of former President Bouteflika’s confidants and is accused of exploiting his proximity to the president for personal gain.

Promise from leaders who have a short time

July 3

Interim President Abdelkader Bensalah gives a speech in which he promises a dialogue with full transparency about the country’s future, between credible people and without government involvement – even without military participation. He appeals to all parties to “let go of unrealistic expectations” so as not to prolong the state of constitutional vacuum that prevails. Bensalah can find it difficult to fulfill the promise: his own term expires on July 9.

The Speaker of the lower house resigns

July 2

The Speaker of Parliament’s House of Commons gives in to demands from the large popular demonstrations: he resigns. Mouad Bouchareb, who was previously a group leader in the FLN government, was elected President in October 2018. The protesters, who want to remove the entire political elite, demand that interim agencies be formed as steps on the path to real democratization.


Famous war hero seized

June 29

Lakhdar Bouregaâ, 86, and a well-known hero from the liberation war against the French colonial power, is arrested. The Algerian press describes the reactions – also within the Algerian elite – as a wave of indignation. The public hero, who in the 1960s was one of the founders of the Socialist Party FFS, has openly criticized the army chief Ahmed Gaïd Salah. Bouregaâ is accused, among other things, of undermining the morale of the army, which could lead to ten years in prison.

Religion on retreat in North Africa

June 24th

An increasing number of Arabs describe themselves as non-religious, according to an interview survey conducted for BBC 2018–2019 by the Arab Barometer research network, which is based at Princeton University. More than 25,000 interviewees in ten countries and in the Palestinian territories were asked. On average, the proportion of non-religious has increased from 8 to 13 percent. The proportion was highest in Tunisia (one third of the interviewees), while more than one in six Algerians gave the answer non-religious. Compared to 2013, it is especially in North Africa – in all the countries of the Mediterranean – that religious beliefs have weakened.

Raids in the car industry

June 20

Hassen Arbaoui, head of a company that assembles cars for Korean manufacturers, is one of six people in a leading position who is arrested in the case of corruption suspects. Four other officials in the Ministry of Industry and one bank manager are the others. But since then, at least two car directors have been with the police, including those arrested in investigations of the exchange between business and the political elite, which deals with, among other things, money laundering and abuse of power. When the car directors receive their judgments in December, multi-year imprisonment is imposed, in Arbaoui’s case six years.

Prison for business leaders

17th of June

Company manager Ali Haddad is sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for having had double passports. Haddad was one of former President Bouteflika’s confidants and the verdict against him is said to be the first to arise in corruption investigations that have been going on since Bouteflika was forced out of power. Haddad owns, among other things, Algeria’s largest construction company (see April 1-2) and has chaired the largest employer organization. In December, when both politicians and business associates were brought to trial, Haddad was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Veteran politician in custody

June 12

Former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia is arrested. The details are not disclosed, but Ouyahia has for some time been the subject of investigation into corruption suspicions. According to Algerian press, there is a link to the business conglomerate owned by Ali Haddad (see April 1). The investigation includes a number of state representatives, including a former minister of transport and public works. The day after, another former prime minister, Abdelmalek Sellal, who was campaign manager in Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s presidential election campaign, is also arrested.

Scheduled presidential elections are canceled

June 2

The plans to hold presidential elections on July 4 are set. The Constitutional Council says that no election can take place: only two candidates have registered and none of them are expected to be able to collect the 60,000 signatures required. In many places, the mayor and administration refuse to conduct the election. No new election date has been set. The major Friday protests against the country’s political elite continue, and the interim president calls on civil society and the political elite to dialogue.


Activist dies in hunger strike

May 28

Doctor Kamel Eddine Fekhar dies after hunger strike since he was arrested in March. As a political activist, he has worked for the Mozabberians (Aït M’zabit), who have been in conflict with Arab neighbors, among other things about pasture lands in the neighborhoods about 50 km south of Algiers. The Ministry of Justice promises that the circumstances will be investigated.

Algeria free from malaria

May 22

Algeria is declared free of malaria by the World Health Organization (WHO). The requirement for exemption is that no case of domestic infection spread has been reported in the last three years. The latest known case of the mosquito-borne infectious disease occurred in 2013. In the 1960s, the number of annual cases in Algeria was estimated to be about 80,000.

Bouteflya’s powerful brother seized

May 4th

Said Bouteflika, brother of the recently ousted President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and two senior intelligence service chiefs are arrested. They are accused of conspiring against the state, which could result in multi-year prison sentences. Said Bouteflika has been regarded as the country’s most powerful man since his brother was hit by stroke in 2013. State TV cancels its programs to show how the arrested are brought into a military court where they are being held – a view that would have appeared unthinkable just a few weeks earlier. Army chief Ahmed Gaïd Salah, who has had a leading role in recent events, has made public statements against one of the three, a spy chief known as Toufik, prior to his arrest.


Islamist leader dies in exile

April 24

Abbasi Madani, who was one of the founders of the Islamic Rescue Front (FIS), dies in exile in Qatar. He called for armed struggle in 1992, when the military stopped the parliamentary elections where the FIS was about to become the largest party. FIS was banned and a decade of civil war ensued. Madani was released in 2003 and went into exile, from where he continued to send political messages. Among other things, he called for election boycott in 2012.

Big corporate executives are accused of corruption

April 22

The country’s most wealthy man Issad Rebrab is arrested on charges of corruption. Rebrab leads Cevital, Algeria’s largest privately owned business group, with 12,000 employees and interests in several industries, including France. To judge that he also leads the wealth league stands the magazine Forbes, which also classifies him as one of the richest in Africa. Also four brothers who belong to the influential Kouninef family and have had close contacts with President Bouteflika, but are usually perceived as competitors to Rebrab, have been arrested. At the same time, former ministers have been asked about suspected mismanagement with state funds.

Yet another of the regime’s men resigns

April 16

Constitutional Council Chairman Tayeb Belaiz resigns. Thus, the protest movement has succeeded in driving away yet another holder of power – the Constitutional Council has a key role in connection with elections. After President Bouteflika’s departure, Belaiz was one of the “three Bs” the protesters directed their anger at. Two remain: Acting Prime Minister Bedoui and Interim President Bensalah.

Judges form an independent organization

April 13

Just over a hundred judges are demonstrating outside the Justice Department against plans to hold presidential elections in July. They argue that elections cannot be free and fair with the laws and institutions that existed under the rule of Bouteflika. The protesters belong to a newly formed law firm, not the judging organization associated with the regime. The judge has an important role in Algeria by being responsible for establishing the length of the vote.

Presidential elections in July

April 10

On July 4, a new presidential election will be held, interim president Bensalah announces. Street protests have not ceased after President Bouteflika’s departure. Many of the protesters have no confidence in Bensalah because he is seen as a representative of the long-standing and military-dominated regime.

The President takes over the elections

April 9

Confirms that Abdelkader Bensalah, Speaker of the upper house, is temporarily taking over the post of Head of State; He will run as interim president until a new president is elected, which must happen within 90 days.

The President resigns

2 April

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika submits his resignation application to the Constitutional Council. He resigns from the post of head of state with immediate effect. The message triggers celebration on the streets of Algiers.

Private air traffic is prohibited

April 1st

Take-off and landing bans prevail during the whole of April for Algerian-owned private aircraft, including those registered abroad. The announcement was made shortly after a business stopper, Ali Haddad, was arrested on his way to Tunisia. Haddad, who belongs to President Bouteflika’s loyal circle, owns, among other things, a construction group, two TV channels and a football club. He has been chairman of the country’s largest employer organization since 2014, but has just left the post since his support for the president has led to growing criticism.


Protests despite reformed government

March 31st

The government is being reformed under the newly appointed Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, but the message is followed by continued demonstrations. Several of the new ministers have backgrounds as executive officers, such as the finance minister, who has been governor of the central bank. It is noted that the Army commander, who has openly advocated that President Bouteflika should be dismissed, continues as Deputy Minister of Defense.

Bouteflika should be deposited, according to the army chief

March 26

Army Chief Ahmed Gaïd Salah demands that Bouteflika be declared incapable of holding office as President. In a TV appearance, the army chief, who is also deputy defense minister and known as loyal to Bouteflika, emphasizes that this can be done with the support of the country’s constitution. In that case, the Speaker of Parliament’s Abdelkader Bensalah (Abd al-Qadir bin Salah) would step in as Acting President until a new President was elected.

Opposition proposes “road map”

March 23rd

Several parties and unions are gathering behind a proposed transitional solution intended to be for six months. According to the proposal, the country will be governed by a presidential council consisting of several people who will not be running for the next presidential election. The day before opposition leaders agree on the proposal, another Friday, the fifth in a row, was marked by mass protests against Bouteflika’s regime.

Slow in Western Sahara talks

March 22

A new round of conversation about Western Sahara concludes with the finding that the parties are far apart. Foreign ministers from Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania and the Saharan Liberation Movement Polisario’s negotiating head have only agreed after the two-day meeting that the UN-led talks – which resumed in December after six years fully on ice – should continue “before the summer”. The Polisario continues to demand that the Western Sahara be given a referendum. Morocco says no.

Signs of the President being isolated

March 20

Split is reported within organizations that have over the years supported the state-sponsored party FLN and President Bouteflika’s regime. Both the trade union organization UGTA and a business forum have been decimated by layoffs linked to the fact that the movements initially supported the president’s plans for a fifth term. At the same time, FLN representatives make statements that the party has an understanding of the wave of protest. Political scientist Mohamed Hennad, formerly affiliated with Algers University, tells AFP news agency that the cracks indicate that “the system is collapsing”.

Impatient opposition demands answers

the 12th of March

Ali Benflis, Prime Minister 2000–2003, has joined the opposition. In an online video, he accuses President Bouteflika of “extending his fourth term” and “violating the Constitution.” No new date for the next presidential election has been announced since the April elections were abandoned. The message from the presidential office is that a national conference will make the decision. On the streets, the demonstrations have continued, with new calls to the regime: “No extra time. This is not a football game. ”

Presidential election postponed – Bouteflika withdraws

11th of March

President Bouteflika announces that the presidential election that would have taken place on April 18 has been postponed and that he himself will not run for office. At the same time, he is drawing up guidelines for the future: the government must be reformed and a new constitution drawn up. For the demonstrative opposition, the message is an unclear victory, as the president is leaving, at least eventually, but the regime remains. Regime critics have called for a transitional government, which also includes opposition representatives. But a deferred election can benefit both camps. The regime is given time to bring a successor to Bouteflika, and the opposition – which is divided – has the opportunity to gather behind a counter-candidate.

The President is met by a strike

March 10

President Bouteflika returns home after two weeks of care in Switzerland. He does not make any immediate statements. The street protests against Bouteflika’s plans to be elected if resumes and strikes have begun at the universities. The Ministry of Education has responded to the strikes with earlier permission.

Rival arrested at President’s Hospital

March 8th

Businessman Rachid Nekkaz is arrested at the university hospital in Switzerland where President Bouteflika is admitted. Nekkaz tried to stand in Algeria’s 2014 presidential election, claiming that 62,000 signatures submitted in support of his candidacy disappeared from the Constitutional Court. In Switzerland, he now states that he tried to clarify the president’s health.

Lawyers demand a stop for Bouteflika

March 7

One thousand lawyers march against the Constitutional Council, which must approve or reject the candidates who want to stand in the presidential election. The lawyers, who believe that Bouteflika cannot be allowed to stand for a fifth term, hope to influence the Council’s decision, which will be taken by March 14. The 82-year-old president, who is in Switzerland for health reasons, warns of “chaos” in a statement via the state news agency APS.

Army commander watches for “stability”

March 5th

Army Chief Ahmed Gaïd Salah, who is also Deputy Secretary of Defense, in a speech at the Cherchell Military College, urges citizens to act so that stability is not jeopardized. The army will “guarantee security and stability,” he says, referring to the violence and terrorism of 1992-2002. On the same day, thousands of students in large cities demonstrate. The police do not intervene, even though demonstrations are prohibited. From the slogans to judge, the students expect that the police or military may stop the wave of protest. Both students and university teachers hold meetings where they discuss strike plans. From the European Commission and the United States, calls are made to respect the freedom of speech of Algerians.

Short sentence for bloggers

4th of March

The blogger Merzoug Touati is to be released, a court has decided. In May, Touati was sentenced to ten years in prison following a video interview over the Internet with an Israeli. It was judged that he had cooperated with foreign power – Algeria does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. In January, the sentence was reduced to seven years, but then the entire trial has been redone. Now the sentence has been mitigated to two years, and since Touati has already been detained for two years, he is considered to have served the sentence (see May 24, 2018).

Street protests are pushing the president

March 1st

Around 50 police officers and a number of activists are injured, while about 50 are arrested in Algerian protests, when Arab Spring 2011 slogans are repeated: “The people want the regime to fall” On March 3, after just over a week of nationwide daily demonstrations that largely are directed at President Bouteflika’s plans to be re-elected, a promise from the president comes: He does not intend to fulfill the fifth term, but convenes a “national conference” aimed at re-election. The message is submitted the same day his candidacy for the April 18 election is registered. Bouteflika is located in Switzerland, officially for medical examinations.


Protests against the president’s plans

February 22

Demands have been banned in Alger since 2001, but protesters are now demanding that President Bouteflika be barred from a fifth term. The protest is met by riot police with tear gas. More than 40 protesters are arrested as they try to reach the presidential palace. Protests are announced after Friday prayers in other cities as well. Two days later, a new protest is held in Algiers, announced by the organization Muwatana (Citizenship). Mass media complain that they are not allowed to report the opposition to the president.

Bouteflika confirms candidacy

February 10

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announces via state media that he is running for re-election on April 18. If the battered 81-year-old wins the presidential election, which he is expected to do, it will be his fifth term in office. The four parties in the government coalition, including FLN and RND, have stated before the announcement that they support Bouteflika. Several parties want to boycott the election.


Young protesters openly

January 29th

In an open letter with name signatures, published in the journal Le Quotidien d’Algérie, 25 well-educated senders express their criticism of the Algerian social system that has stagnated. They warn of continued resentment , flight across the Mediterranean, and what is called hogra , the elite’s contempt for the people, which includes both condescending treatment and brutality against protesters. Similar calls for change have also begun to emerge in social media.

Islamist candidate in the presidential election

January 26

Abderrazak Makri becomes candidate for MSP in the presidential election in April. MSP is the country’s largest Islamist party and has roots in the Sunni movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is represented in several countries. Until 2012, MSP supported President Bouteflika’s government alliance.

Exgeneral first presidential candidate

January 18

The next presidential election will be held on April 18, according to the decree of President Bouteflika. 81-year-old Bouteflika, who has been in poor health since a stroke in 2013, has not yet announced whether he wants to be re-elected for a fifth term. But one candidate quickly signs up: Ali Ghediri, 64, and retired general, who has recently made a number of public appearances. By March 4, anyone wishing to stand for election must register with the Constitutional Court.

Algeria Culture

About the author