Algeria Country Report 2022: Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index

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The review period has been marked by some of the most dramatic political developments in recent Algerian history. These were sparked by the decision of the ruling FLN party that the ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika would stand yet again for a fifth mandate, to the dismay and indignation of the population and in breach of the constitution that had reintroduced a limit to presidential mandates in 2016. This decision sparked large-scale demonstrations in cities across the country from February 22, 2019. Millions of citizens marched peacefully for democracy and continued to do so weekly for 54 weeks until the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in March 2020.

With predominantly peaceful responses from all sides, the people, the army and police, Algeria managed to avoid violence. On April 2, 2019, the military dismissed Bouteflika, and the army Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah confirmed his pivotal role in decision-making (until his unexpected death on December 23, 2019). The Head of the Senate Abdelkader Bensalah was appointed interim president as prescribed in the constitution. A number of former ministers, prime ministers and leading business elites were arrested on corruption charges and imprisoned. The presidential election was delayed to July, and then again to December 12, 2019, when President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, a former prime minister under Bouteflika, was elected in a climate characterized by a high degree of polarization and intense political repression. This election was contested by many in the population who felt that all candidates had links with the former regime and that a genuine political transition was needed. Nevertheless, a new government was formed, corruption cases were pursued and a number of political decisions and policies such as financial reforms to introduce Islamic banking, and new legislation to support startups, were launched after years of stagnation due to the former president’s illness. Overall, this election did not resolve the regime’s legitimacy crisis and the public’s profound lack of trust in the ruling elite.

Renewed foreign policy efforts with the election of a new president were launched in early 2020. However, relations with neighbors, particularly Morocco, remain tense with the continued annexation of Western Sahara and the normalization of Morocco’s ties with Israel. The expulsions of thousands of sub-Saharan African and Syrian migrants have been condemned by human rights organizations.

The COVID-19 pandemic starting in March 2020 had a serious impact on Algeria, which experienced an initially high number of cases, particularly in Blida, which overwhelmed the hospital network. The pandemic also precipitated an accelerated crash in oil prices on the international market, which had serious implications for an Algerian economy which is still heavily dependent on hydrocarbon exports. Lockdowns and curfews were implemented. Civil society organizations denounced an increase in repression of opposition and online activists and journalists, with many in prison or receiving heavy fines. The Supplementary Finance Law was adopted in June 2020 to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health sector, to support the newly unemployed and poor households. Capital expenditure and other budget cuts were planned due to a fall in revenues. Financial challenges facing the country remain significant.

According to a report published by the National Committee for the Release of Detainees (CNLD) updated on January 4, 2021, 87 political prisoners, including women, are serving sentences across the country or are being held pending trial.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBertelsmann Stiftung
Number of pages44
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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