Algerian Islamist parties unite for election

Algerian Islamist parties unite for election

Three of Algeria's officially sanctioned Islamist parties have announced an alliance ahead of the North African country's legislative elections in May, Al Jazeera reported.

The Movement for the Society of Peace (MSP), Ennahdha, which is linked to the Tunisian party of the same name, and the El Islah movement, announced in a statement they would "campaign together and present a joint platform".

The self-titled Green Algeria Alliance, made up of the MSP, Ennahda, and the El Islah (Reform) movement, said in a statement on Wednesday they would "campaign together and present a joint platform".

Two other Islamist parties, recently licenced by the government, the Front for Justice and Liberty and the Movement for Change, have refused to join the alliance.

The year 2012 marks not only the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence from French colonial rule, but also of rule by a single party, the National Liberation Front (FLN).

With the rise of political Islam in neighbouring Tunisia and Libya, following uprisings, and in Morocco, following political reforms, the Algerian regime has introduced reforms of its own and indicated it might be willing to allow more space to some opposition parties.

Political ban

Algeria experienced an early pre-cursor to the so-called Arab Spring two decades ago.

After Algeria's October 1988 protest movement, which preceded similar uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia by more than 20 years, the political monopoly of the ruling oligarchy appeared to be on the wane, as the reformers within the regime set the country on the path of political pluralism.

This all came to a halt with the coup d'etat of 1992. The Algerian army intervened to prevent what would have been the second round of the country's first election to prevent the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) from almost certain victory.

The country spiraled on the path toward civil war, and the establishment moved to "eradicate" the menace of political Islam. Civilians who supported the FIS quickly came to be seen as legitimate targets in the murky civil war that was unleashed. Intellectuals became targets for both the intelligence services and ultra-conservative supporters of political Islam.

Subsequent elections have been viewed as pointless by opposition groups and non-governmental organisations, who argue that the real power lies with the military. Parties that participate in the government, including the MSP, which only quit the governing alliance in January, are seen as part of the system.

Provisional leader

The FIS remains technically barred from politics, and in the months leading up to the vote on May 10, there has been a crackdown on its leaders, past and present.

Ali Belhadj, the founding second-in-charge of the FIS, was arrested near Béjaïa as he toured villages in the Kabylia region in early February, Algerian media reported.

Mourad Dhina, an Algerian who lives in exile in Switzerland, was arrested in Paris on January 16, as he was about to board the plane back to Geneva. Dhina, who had briefly acted as the provisional FIS leader until he quit the movement in 2004, had been in Paris for an important meeting launch a new political party.

He is being held by the French authorities following an extradition request from the Algerians, who accuse Dhina of belonging to a terrorist cell in Switzerland. The Swiss authorities consider the allegations as being politically-motivated, and have always refused similar requests from the Algerians.

"There is no proof behind their allegations. They're inventing lies because he's an opponent of their regime and a human rights activist," Ratiba, his wife, told Al Jazeera.

Dhina is executive director of Al Karama for Human Rights, a human rights organisation. He is also a co-founder of Rachad, an opposition organisation bringing together opponents of the regime living in exile who want to bring about "non-violent comprehensive change" in Algeria.

His colleague in Rachad, Abbas Aroua, said the reason for Dhina's arrest in France is because he has refused to compromise with the regime.

"The divide now is whether you are for freedom, the sovereignty of the people, or you are supporting a political or military regime who is imposing a dictatorship," he said.

New approach

Aside from the FLN, the Islamist alliance's main competition in the May elections will most likely come from a longstanding centre-left opposition party.

The Socialist Forces Front (FFS), Algeria's oldest opposition party, will be running in the election. The party, which boycotted the 2002 and 2007 parliamentary elections and the 2009 presidential election on the grounds that they were unfair, announced on Friday that it would change its position.

Hocine Aït Ahmed, who founded the party in 1963 and lives in exile in Switzerland, said in a statement to the National Council of the FFS that the party would participate in the elections in an attempt to bring some kind of political change, at both the local and the national level.

"Behind the war on terrorism [Algeria's decade-long civil war in the 1990s] and behind the alibi of economic neo-liberalism, the country has been taken back several countries," Ait Ahmed wrote, condemning state violence.

Ait Ahmed, considered by historians to be one of the chief architects of the military and political strategy waged by the National Liberation Front (FLN) against French colonial rule, said:

"Islamic fundamentalism and anti-Islamic fundamentalism have fought against the irrepressible pluralism of our country. They have - both - contributed to aggravating the damage caused by authoritarianism and intolerance of single party rule."

The party acknowledges that it is likely to suffer from the Islamists' predicted popularity at the polls, combined with an anticipated low turnout from a population that feels disenfranchised by the political class.

Another secular opposition party, the Rally Culture and Democracy, announced in February that it would boycott the election.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Georgia’s coal imports from Kazakhstan triple
Georgia’s coal imports from Kazakhstan triple
Kazakhstan names damage caused to business as result of large-scale rallies
Kazakhstan names damage caused to business as result of large-scale rallies
Seizing of illegally stored weapons from citizens continues in Kazakhstan - interior minister
Seizing of illegally stored weapons from citizens continues in Kazakhstan - interior minister
Loading Bars
Latest
French EU lawmaker Collard joins far-right presidential candidate Zemmour
Pfizer, Moderna boosters up to 90% effective against Omicron: CDC
Turkey’s Turkovac to be tested as booster for Pfizer-BioNTech jab
Guinea junta establishes council to lead transition to elections
Visit aims to rebuild trust with Lebanon: Kuwait foreign minister
UK records 76,807 new COVID cases, 297 deaths
EU Commissioner for Energy to visit Azerbaijan
Pfizer CEO sees annual COVID vaccine rather than frequent boosters
US Dept of State plans to begin evacuation of US embassy staff from Kiev on Jan 24
Blast hits western Afghan city of Herat, killing at least six
Georgia’s coal imports from Kazakhstan triple
Presidential administration of Georgia submits candidates for election commission to parliament
Remittances to Uzbekistan in 2021 totaled USD 8 bln
Iran seeks long-term, all-out ties with Turkey - Raeisi
Massive California wildfire triggers evacuations, closes highway
Italy's Berlusconi decides against running for president
Azerbaijan, Iran talk military cooperation
Azerbaijani chess player continues to lead in Tata Steel Masters tournament
Serviceman of Azerbaijan Army dies in non-combat conditions
Number of Turkish jobseekers in Uzbekistan revealed for 2021
UAE stops all private drone activities, light sports aircrafts
Airbus cancels $6bn contract with Qatar Airways
German conservatives elect right-winger Merz as new party leader
Non-hydro renewables overtake hydro for first time in Turkey
Record-breaking indicators in non-oil sector - what is secret to success of Azerbaijan's economic strategy?
Iran shares data on exports from Aras Free Trade Zone
Kazakhstan names damage caused to business as result of large-scale rallies
Georgia publishes COVID-19 data for January 22
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price dips
India now allows 6 people to register on one number for Covid vaccination
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 1,614 more COVID-19 cases, 610 recoveries
Azerbaijan changes rules for quarantine control of Covid-19
India's Karnataka approves design & launch of nano-satellite by govt school students at Rs 1.9 Cr
‘One Modi cannot change a country, need more icons like him’: Himanta Biswa Sarma
Seizing of illegally stored weapons from citizens continues in Kazakhstan - interior minister
Azerbaijani border serviceman commits suicide in military hospital
Iran unveils details of agricultural export
Kazakh Armed Forces performing tasks to ensure public order in regions with “red” level of terrorist threat
Tokyo hits record 10,000 COVID cases, Japan over 50,000 for first time
Number of COVID-19 infections in Russia surpasses 11 mln since pandemic began
Kazakhstan developing measures to reform Samruk-Kazyna Fund's activities
PMO records surge in load/unload operations at Iranian ports
S&P predicts gas production growth in Azerbaijan through 2025
Turkmen medical enterprise discloses production data
Azerbaijan to hold auction for Ferrum Kapital CJSC's bonds
Kazakh president talks need to continue work to reveal all circumstances of recent riots
Kazakh oil and gas company to purchase helium via tender
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for January 22
Oil price spikes likely in 2022 amid inventory tightness midyear
7 killed, 16 injured in massive fire in central Mumbai high-rise
Oil demand to be robust in coming years despite net-zero strategies
India reports 3,37,704 new Covid cases, 488 deaths in 24 hours
Number of COVID-19 infections in Russia surpasses 11 mln since pandemic began
OPEC+ focus to switch away from propping up prices
Iran shares data on buy/sell operations at its Mercantile Exchange
Most people feel I-T exemption limit could be raised from Rs 2.5 lakh: India's KPMG
Turkmenistan’s Balkandokma complex doubles cotton yarn sales
Uzbekistan reveals data on agricultural, forestry and fisheries production
Tax benefits to increase disposable income likely in India's Union Budget
Uzbekistan approves procedure for rational use of land resources
S&P discloses inflation forecast for Azerbaijan through 2025
S&P Global Ratings announces forecast for Azerbaijan's budget surplus
Magnitude 6.2 earthquake strikes Unalaska, Alaska
NIOC agrees with Russian companies to develop Iran's oil, gas fields
SOCAR dismisses information about purchasing bitumen plant in Armenia
Kazakh company eyes to import leather products from Uzbekistan
S&P comments on possible swap line between Central Banks of Azerbaijan and Turkey
Oil production in Azerbaijan to moderately rebound - S&P
Georgia discloses its main cement sources of import
Turkmenistan lays out plans for hydrogen energy development
US lawmakers seek litigation at WTO against India on wheat subsidy
Iran, Azerbaijan continue construction of Khudafarin and Giz Galasi hydro junctions (PHOTO)
Climate policy of Uzbekistan: Implementation of measures to prevent climate change and adaptation in most vulnerable sectors of economy
S&P Global Ratings approves Azerbaijan's credit rating at 'BB+/B'
UK Foreign Secretary to meet with Lavrov in Moscow in February
Netaji’s statue at India Gate to be 25 feet high: NMAG director
India to allow arms manufacturers to enhance production
Kazakhstan names Samruk-Kazyna's entreprises planned to be put up for IPOs
Iranian currency rates for January 22
Statistical center of Iran reveals figures of growing inflation
Azerbaijan reduces quarantine period for COVID-19 patients
Kazakh Gas Processing Plant opens tender on manufacturing of parts for pumping equipment
Azerbaijan's Kalbajar - most suitable for winter tourism among liberated areas, agency says
EAM Jaishankar dials envoys in US, Canada after 4 Indians freeze to death along US-Canada border
Balkan Shipbuilding Yard in Turkmenistan to build new ships
Uzbekistan shares domestic COVID-19 data for Jan.21
Azerbaijani oil prices decline
Azerbaijan talks probability of commercial oil & gas reserves at Aypara area in Caspian Sea
GM sets $6.5 bln for in Michigan electric vehicle plants -document
Georgia – Turkey trade turnover up
Subhas Chandra Bose's family members welcome PM's decision on Netaji's statue at India Gate
Kazakhstan talks business support measures related to tax legislation
Iran resumes gas export to Turkey
Central Bank of Azerbaijan fully meets demand at foreign exchange auction
US commits to helping Saudi Arabia, Gulf partners defend against threats from Yemen
NYPD officer killed, another seriously wounded in shooting
Poland, Georgia to hold Joint Intergovernmental Commission meeting – ministry
Saudi-led coalition denies targeting detention centre in Yemen's Saada
Arnold Schwarzenegger involved in car accident
All news