Algeria: Postponement of 2024 Presidential Election is a real possibility

Algeria

Published on Monday 26 February 2024 Back to articles

President Abdelmajid Tebboune opens the world’s third largest mosque in Algiers on 25 February 2024

Experienced analysts are describing Algeria as being in ‘chaos’ both politically and in terms of foreign relations, while security is an increasing worry, and the economy is extremely weak. 

Algeria Politics & Security – 20.02.24 reported that the government, possibly at the level of the Haut Conseil de Sécurité (HCS), was considering postponing the December 2024 presidential election. There has been no official statement and there is unlikely to be one for some time. Nevertheless, the fact that it is being considered has spilled into the public domain and is now being bandied about in political circles as a remote possibility. There are several factors behind this possible scenario. 

Firstly, there is increasing pressure on President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to stand down. He is not favoured by: the army; the so-called ‘deep state’ dominated by the old Département du renseignement et de la sécurité (DRS); or it seems among a growing number of the regime who hitherto were deemed supportive of him. 

Secondly, the military has not yet come up with an alternative candidate because they are overly preoccupied with fighting amongst themselves. A postponement of a further six months would give them more time to find a solution.

Thirdly, the regime does not know how such a radical action would be received. Domestically, a postponement would raise an outcry but one that would be containable because most Algerians no longer care about them. They know they are run by the regime for the regime so there has been a miniscule actual turnout rate in all recent polls. Internationally, however, it could cause major problems for Algeria so the regime wants more time to assess how such a decision would be received, and especially by the US and France. 

If the election is postponed the regime would need to justify the decision. The most likely pretext would be that — as a result of the current potentially hostile pressure on all its borders, and from further afield — the country is on a war footing or even in a state of war. It could also easily argue that it is in such a state of chaos that more time was needed to organise the election.

In percentage terms our well informed sources in Algiers put Tebboune’s grip on power at only 20%. Simultaneously they do not rate Army Chief of Staff, General Saïd Chengriha’s chances of political longevity much higher, and suspect that the old DRS. may eventually push him

The latter’s influence is being seen in the appointment to key positions of some of the most ruthless killers of the Black Decade of the 1990s. General Nacer el-Djen (a.k.a. General Abdelkader Haddad) is expected to be confirmed soon as head of the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure (DGSI), while an equally ruthless killer and sex offender, Mokhtar-Saïd Mediouni, has been appointed as head of Algiers’ international airport.

Meanwhile — as a result of the recent gaffs by the regime and the militarisation of the diplomatic service — Algeria has received further serious rebuffs in its foreign relations with Spain, Russia, and France. In the past week all are developing new and seemingly very positive relations with Morocco.

Simultaneously, the security situation in the south is still very worrying for the regime, because Russian troops have taken over the Malian border crossing at In Khalil, as well as adjacent artisanal gold mines.

There are also serious water shortages in northern towns and cities which could lead to social unrest.

This excerpt is taken from our Algeria Politics & Security weekly intelligence report. Click here to receive a free sample copy. Contact info@menas.co.uk for subscription details.

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