go to top

With Eye on Regional Security, U.S. Looks Past Algeria's Flawed Elections

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

While attempts to frame Algeria within the Arab Spring narrative have proved unrealistic, some observers thought the country’s May 10 parliamentary elections could present an opportunity for substantive political change. European and American officials lauded President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s invitation to international organizations to send election observers, as well as recently passed “reforms,” as progress toward democracy, likening these moves to Morocco’s top-down reform process enacted at the onset of the regional uprisings.

But Algeria’s ability to avoid the upheaval that has swept North Africa over the past year has less to do with a proactive leadership and more to do with its wary, apathetic citizenry that is both traumatized from the violence of the 1990s and disenchanted with the country's political institutions. Past elections have been characterized by widespread abstention and manipulation, and Algerians had little reason to believe that this time would be different. It is also important to point out that while these elections took place during a dynamic period in the region, their domestic significance pales in comparison to the country’s presidential election, planned for 2014, which could offer a rupture with the aging Bouteflika’s leadership. ...

Want to Read the Rest?
Login or Subscribe Today.
Quarterly
$ 25 for 3 months
  • Two-week FREE trial access.
  • Cancel during trial and pay nothing.
  • Just $25 quarterly after trial.
Try It FREE
Annual
$ 75 for 1 year
  • Two-week FREE trial access.
  • Cancel during trial and pay nothing.
  • Just $75 annually after trial.
Try It FREE