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The former head of the Movement for a Society of Peace, Abou Djara Soltani, center, during a press conference with other Islamist politicians after legislative elections, May 11, 2012, Algiers (AP photo by Paul Schemm).

Can Algeria’s Fractured Islamists Retain Their Appeal as a Movement?

Monday, Feb. 27, 2017

Ahead of parliamentary elections in May, Algeria’s fractious Islamist parties have announced unlikely new sets of electoral blocs. The confusing new coalitions are not just the latest iteration of the alphabet soup of Algeria’s Islamists. They also reflect the enduring limitations of Islamist party politics, which present an incomplete picture of political Islam in Algeria.

The Movement for a Society of Peace, or MSP, Algeria’s largest Islamist party, declared a new alliance with the Front for Change, a splinter group that broke away from the MSP in 2008. Three other prominent Islamist parties—al-Bina al-Watani, al-Adala and al-Nahda—said earlier that they would form their own electoral alliance. Al-Bina al-Watani is itself another MSP breakaway. ...

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