“Bouteflika’s regime has not changed,” the political analyst Hamid Zanaz underlined, summing-up the situation in Algeria after the resignation of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, which came against the backdrop of popular protests rejecting his candidacy for a fifth term.
Zanaz’ view is based on the relation between the new President Abdul Majeed Tabun, with the previous regime. He points out that the government is still controlling the official media and imposes restriction on private media through managing legislative support and advertisements. He refers that the new government is implementing the same policy as Bouteflika’s government.
The Algerian street has witnessed several protests against electing Tabun as a president for Algeria, where people accused him of attempting to reproduce the previous regime, especially as Tabun had held many leadership positions for 20 years during the reign of Bouteflika.
“Observers, as well as political activists and free intellectuals agree that the methods of ruling have not changed at all, and there was no tangible change. That situation led to thousands of people expressing their regret for participating in the elections of December 12, 2019, which most of the Algerians boycotted,” Zanaz adds.
Protests are still taking place in Algeria, calling for releasing the detained protesters, rejecting the government’s economic and political plans, and refusing Tabun as the head of the country.
Similar is the position of an Algerian analyst, talking under condition of anonymity, indicating that the main problem in Algeria is the absence of a governmental perspective or decisions toward changing the reality in terms of improving living and making a noticeable difference in the citizen’s life.
The Algerian government expected a budget deficit of $12 billion, which led it to increase the country’s expenses from 30 to 50 percent, especially after the collapse of oil prices, the main source of the country’s income.
The source adds that the statements of the new government’s officials on measures to restore the looted money are no more than words without any actual moves. “The current regime has sacrificed some figures to prove its integrity, but in fact it has not restored one dinar of the money being stolen for 20 years.
Government statistics had estimated the looted money in Algeria at $ 200 billion. The economist Abdel Hamid Alwan believes that the process of restoring the money could extend for the next 10 years.
The Deep State and Dispensing with the Wheelchair
What happened in Algeria within more than 13 months is that the president dispensed with his wheelchair and was standing in front of the media cameras to give presidential speeches.
“Being familiar with some details of the ruling mechanism in Algeria, the position of the president is still only a media or protocol position, so to speak,” the source says, explaining that the actual administration is in the hands of a “deep state“, represented by generals and the military establishment, “This is the similarity between the regimes of Bouteflika and Taboun, with a slight difference: the absence of Said Bouteflika from the scene,” he adds.
The Algerian demonstrators have condemned the granting of many presidential powers to Bouteflika’s brother, and making his one of the decision-makers in the country, although he does not possess any official capacity, except that for being the previous president’s brother.
The source asserts that the revolution against Bouteflika will continue until it overthrows Tabun and that protests will increase during the next few months.