Algerian Islamists boycott new government
By Fidet Mansour for Magharebia in Algiers – 22/05/12
In contrast with Morocco, Tunisia and Libya, Islamists in Algeria refused to join the incoming government. Furthermore, the Movement of Society for Peace (MSP), which has four ministers in the current government, decided to withdraw them altogether.
The Islamist party, which until now had been a partner in the governing coalition, on Saturday (May 19th), decided to return to the ranks of the opposition after a resounding 134 to 35 vote by the consultative committee.
During that meeting, MSP chairman Bouguerra Soltani accused the Algerian government of "wanting to exclude Islamists from the political fold". Proof of this, he alleged, lay in the fact that the party had fallen victim to "a raid on its seats" in the legislative election on May 10th.
Abderrezak Mokri, one of the party's leading members, told Tout Sur L'Algérie on Sunday (May 20th) that the party had decided to play a part in previous governments "to serve our country". He explained that Algeria was in danger and the party thought they could move towards some real political reforms.
"This electoral fraud has sent us a clear signal," Mokri said. "There is no reform."
According to Mokri, the MSP promises to play a part in the re-organisation of the opposition.
"We shall try to build alliances with all political parties so that we can reach a common stance in Parliament on the government's draft bills, for example. We will help revive civil society," he said.
For its part, El Islah decided to enter into new talks with other parties to establish a joint opposition front.
In a press conference led by chairman Hamaloui Akouchi on Saturday (May 19th), El Islah said that "the government is afraid of Islamist parties, which are the only force capable of actually bringing about the change which Algerians have wanted for so long."
"By giving the FLN a helping hand, with a ballot tailored to its needs, the state has nipped reform in the bud and dashed the hopes of millions of Algerians," said Akouchi.
Ennahda struck a similar chord. The movement's secretary-general, Fateh Rebai, said on the same day that the result achieved by the FLN was "the fruit of a widespread fraud, the aim of which was to maintain the status quo".
Describing the election as a "travesty" and accusing the administration of having organised the fraud to thwart a possible breakthrough for the Islamists, Rebai questioned the political reforms introduced by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in a speech on April 15, 2011.
"The results which have been announced are proof of the failure of political reforms," Rebai said, predicting that "the next constitution will be made to measure."
Justice and Development Front (FJD) chairman Abdallah Djaballah said on May 13th that the results "closed the door to change through the ballot box". He spoke of an "attack on the will of the people," and went on to conclude: "We refuse to recognise these results" which create "a climate of insecurity".
Finally, the Front for Change (FC), which won just four seats in Parliament, said it could not envisage an alliance with the parties in power under any circumstances.
"The government has thrown away a golden opportunity for Algeria to bring about change through peaceful means," FC leader Abdelmadjid Menasra, said during a May 12th press conference.
Menasra recalled that the Islamist parties together won only 58 seats compared with the FLN's 221 seats.
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