Algeria – ILC reports – October 14, 2019

18 October, 2019

(Download an urgent note published by the ILC)

The interim government of Algeria, supposedly in charge of expediting current affairs, wants to implement extremely important counter-reforms. A 2020 austerity budget which removes the 51/49 rule (limiting foreign capital holdings in an enterprise to 49 percent, with 51 percent Algerian), and a bill on hydrocarbons. In reality, these measures open the way to increased penetration by foreign capital. Reaction to these measures was sharp as soon as they were announced. At the Friday demonstration of October 11, in addition to the usual watchwords for the release of political prisoners and rejection of the presidential election, came the massive addition of slogans against the hydrocarbons bill, with the words: “Algeria is not for sale!”

On Saturday, October 12, the Workers Party issued a declaration on these matters. We draw your attention to the end of this text, which establishes a relation between the Constituent Assembly, the sovereignty of the people and sovereignty over the wealth of the country.

On October 13, demonstrations took place for the first time on a Sunday – until now they have taken place only on Friday and Tuesday – Sunday being the first day of the working week. In all the towns of Algeria, there were demonstrations against the hydrocarbons bill. In Algiers, thousands upon thousands sought to reach the National Assembly, chanting: “Gang of traitors, you’re selling out the nation!”

The same day, the government adopted the draft law on hydrocarbons that it plans to submit to the National Assembly. This is provoking a crisis, up to and within the regime itself. Benflis, former prime minister under Bouteflika and candidate for the presidential election scheduled for December 12, has asked that the bill be postponed. The RND, one of the two parties that control the assembly at the service of the regime, has also asked for a postponement. The other party of the regime, the FLN, has counseled caution. Numerous political figures have come out against the bill. The press – apart from that at the service of the regime – has multiplied articles asking why the regime wants to ram through this bill, 8 weeks before the presidential election.

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