Algeria activists call for poll boycott, demand electoral reforms

1 week 5 days ago

An umbrella group of political activists in Algeria is calling for a boycott of the April 18 presidential polls as part of efforts to get the government to undertake key political and electoral reforms.

Ali Benouari, vice-president of the Mouwatana group told the BBC that anti-Bouteflika protests were sure to continue if government decides to press ahead with the vote.

According to him the country was currently in a strange situation where the activists and opposition were on one side with the government on the other.

“We are in this very strange situation (where) now the streets is ahead, the opposition is behind. The problem for the opposition is how to manage the situation without looking opportunist,” he said.

Asked what exactly the activists wanted to achieve, he confirmed that they expected the government to postpone the polls and establish an independent democratic transition body to enter negotiations with the opposition on the way forward.

The decision by ailing president Abdul Aziz Bouteflika to seek a fifth term in office has birthed widespread protests across the country. Bouteflika has been president since 1999 – one of Africa’s longest serving leaders.

He has barely been seen in public and has cancelled official engagements in the past due to ill health. The ruling party had indicated that he was their preferred candidate despite what some say is blatant incapacity to rule.

The latest concession from Bouteflika’s camp was over the weekend when he reportedly offered to serve a one-year term if he was reelected in the polls. The protests have gone beyond Algeria to cities across the world.

What he said about boycott

The call for a boycott is because we don’t think the next election will be free. There is no control on the election process. The election process is controlled by the administration and they know that administration receives instruction from the government and also the secret services.

So on the elections, we used to ask for this independent commission but the regime has never accepted that.

Who does he expect to become president

The representative of the people. The actual candidates are not reflecting the aim of the political parties. Most of the political parties have calld for a boycott so we have only few candidates most of them are representing the regime.

Out of 31 candidates, we could say quite all of them are candidates of the regime. They are used just to justify that the elections are free and fair and pluralist.

What next if Bouteflika leaves?

The fact is that even though Bouteflika will not be able to go to the elections, it does not reflect the political spectrum. We call for a boycott and to go to a transitional period which could be necessarily organized by independent people.

Who is in charge of current developments

The agenda now is controlled by both the government and the streets. The agenda is not fixed by the opposition parties. The government may decide at any time to stop the election process and to enter negotiations with the opposition. Otherwise the demonstrations will continue …

We’d continue protesting without a timeline but in the mean time we try to organize ourselves as opposition to find the solution but once again we don’t have the keys.

We are in this very strange situation (where) now the streets is ahead, the opposition is behind. The problem for the opposition is how to manage the situation without looking opportunist.


Benin: opposition parties barred from legislative elections [The Morning Call]

1 week 5 days ago

In Benin, electoral commision has barred key opposition parties from contesting in the country’s April 28 legislative elections.

The dismissal follows the opposition parties rejection of an invitation from President Patrice Talon to a meeting to discuss the upcoming legislative elections.

So why did opposition parties in the country ignore the meeting?

And what parties would then be contesting in the country’s legislative elections?


DRC president agrees coalition govt arrangement with Kabila

1 week 5 days ago

Former President Joseph Kabila’s coalition will have a say in choosing the next Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, according to an agreement between his coalition and that of the incumbent president.

Kabila’s Common Front for Congo, FCC, and President Tshisekedi’s Cap pour le Changement, CACH, in a letter dated March 6 agreed that current political dynamics meant that the two groups had to jointly agree on the next Premier.

Whiles Tshisekedi-led CACH won the presidential polls of December 2018, Kabila’s FCC had the majority of lawmakers as per results of the National Assembly polls held along with the presidential poll.

The statement issued by the two factions said the move was part of: “their common will to govern together as part of a coalition government.”

It further said the coalition government aims to preserve “the achievements of the historic peaceful transfer of power that took place on January 24, 2019, to strengthen the climate of peace and the stability of the country and facilitate the rapid establishment of a government.”

Over a hundred days after taking office in January this year, president Tshisekedi has yet to name a Prime Minister – who is leader of government business under DRC laws.


Seychelles ex-president to be laid to rest today [The Morning Call]

1 week 5 days ago

Seychelles is officially in national mourning today as former President France Albert Rene receives a state funeral.

Rene, Seychelles’ longest-serving president who led the island nation for more than a quarter century during one-party rule, died at the Seychelles hospital last week at the age of 83.

He had held office from 1977 when he took power in a coup d’état that ousted James Mancham.

1 week 4 days ago
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