Practical preparations began in Algeria for the early parliamentary elections to be held on 12 June 2021, following the decision by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune in February 2021 to dissolve the People's National Assembly. These elections constitute the third stage in the course of political transformations experienced by Algeria in the past year, after the election of the country’s President and the ratification of the country’s new constitution.
This paper examines the political context in which the upcoming elections would be held, highlights the determinants of the electoral process, and explores their future prospects and their impact on the Algerian political scene.
The political context of the early parliamentary elections
The context of the upcoming elections is defined by the recent transformations in the Algerian political arena after the resignation of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on 2 April 2019. The most prominent of those determinants include the following:
The illness of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and his complete absence from the political scene throughout his long period of treatment in German hospitals (from October 2020 to mid-February 2021) have affected the nature of the ongoing political transformations, in a phase of increasing indications of the return to the fore of the military and security leaders excluded by President Bouteflika. Hence, it becomes clear that the decision to dissolve parliament and hold early legislative elections falls within a dual framework that consists of completing the liquidation of the legacy of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and renewing the rules of the political game imposed by the Popular Movement that has continued since 22 February 2019.
New electoral equation
At the end of April 2021, the Independent Electoral Commission announced the lists that obtained a final licence to run for the next legislative elections, according to the conditions stipulating in short that the list obtain 24,000 signatures from at least 23 of the 58 states of Algeria. According to the Commission’s data, 19 political parties have managed to apply to the next elections, while 34 parties failed to obtain the required signatures. 765 independent lists also applied for the elections.
While the parliamentary elections were boycotted by the left-wing parties, which are active in the tribal region (the Socialist Forces Front (FFS), which is the oldest opposition party, the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD), the Workers’ Party, and the Democratic and Social Movement (MDS)), as well as the Union for Change and Progress Party, the two parties which had previously constituted the pillars of the authority, namely the National Liberation Front and the Democratic National Rally (RND) are taking part in the elections. Also participating are the parties affiliated with the political Islam movement, such as the Movement of Society for Peace (MSP), the Ennahda (Renaissance) Movement, the Movement for National Reform, the Justice and Development Front, and the National El Bina (Construction) Movement.
Prospects for the electoral process
While it is difficult to predict the prospects of the electoral process and its future results, some indicators have emerged, including the following:
Thus, three distinct scenarios can be foreseen for the Algerian political scene following the upcoming legislative elections:
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