Post by kerouac2 on Mar 29, 2019 20:40:20 GMT
It has been 9 years since the 'Arab spring' in Tunisia which ejected Ben Ali from power. And there were also the movements that threw out the leaders of Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya... those didn't always end in a happy conclusion. Tunisia isn't doing too badly. It is a democracy now, and there is extreme vigilance locally for it to remain so. Neighbouring Algeria was not as lucky, but there was a reason for that. In 1991 there were relatively democratic elections with an 'incorrect' outcome -- the hard line Islamic parties came out on top, and that was unacceptable to the regime in power.
So a sort of civil war began, and 150,000 people died over the following years. In 1999 Abdelaziz Bouteflika was elected president. He passed an amnesty law for all of the killers, and peace was restored to the country. And so he has been president for the last 20 years (4 terms) even though he had a stroke in 2013 and has been almost completely incapacitated since then. He had efficient puppeteers, though, so the country continued to operate more or less. This year, though, even though it is clear that he is practically a vegetable now, it was announced that he would run for a 5th term.
Finally, this was too much. Half of the population has only ever known him as president, an even though most people appreciate that he brought peace to the country in 1999, there has been little or no progress in people's lives since then, and they want something new. The country is rife with corruption and all of the money from its rich oil reserves is disappearing into the pockets of corrupt politicians. And for a country with a population of 45 million people, it is not at all normal that the industrial and commercial base is so pathetic.
And so the Algerian spring appears to have finally begun. Starting with the students and then joined by a lot of the rest of the population, there have been huge demonstrations (peaceful!) for the last six weeks, and there have been some results. The 5th candidacy of Bouteflika was withdrawn and he promised to resign after a constitutional convention. But this delays his departure for almost a year, and the idea is rejected by the demonstrators. It doesn't look like they are going to back down.
This is really an issue to follow by anybody who favours an increase of democracy in the world.
Here is a video by the democracy movement.