Preparations for the forthcoming elections in Algeria, due to be held in April 2019, have been characterized by a unique range of debates and disputes concerning the nomination of candidates, both within and among the main political parties. These have not been limited to the political divisions over the nomination of the incumbent president – Abdelaziz Bouteflika – for a fifth term despite his “ailing health.”1 Nor are they confined to the military’s opposition to the nomination of a retired general. They now also include the nomination of Abderrazak Makri – leader of Algeria’s main Islamist party and Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, the Movement for the Society of Peace (MSP) – despite objections from the movement’s former leader Bouguerra Soltani, leading to divisions inside the MSP.
The electoral landscape and its difficulties
Although 200 people intend to run in the elections, the real electoral battle will likely be between four main candidates: President Bouteflika; former Prime Minister Ali Bebflis; retired general, Ali Ghediri; and the MSP candidate Abderrazak Makri. This lineup presents a number of problems, most notably:
Islamist forces and their relative influence
The Islamist political blocs are divided into the following intellectual movements:
Implications of Muqri’s nomination
The major consequences of presenting Muqri as a presidential candidate include:
Therefore, in view of the divided positions of the Islamist presidential candidates, their electoral success will largely depend on their ability to secure the votes of the Islamic Salvation Front, given its relatively strong grass roots, social networks and unofficially justified presence in society.
Hanin Ghaddar | 10 Oct 2021
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