Algerian youth boycotting presidential vote en masse

Published April 17th, 2014 - 06:29 GMT

Many Algerian youth will not be participating in the presidential polls scheduled to take place nationwide today, according to the Associated Press. Rather, they are boycotting what they see as an unfair election process that is being used to maintain Algeria's status quo.  

Students in Algiers gathered in protest this week against the elections, saying they "lack loyalty to a political system run by an aging leader too frail to show up for a single campaign event."

“Most people don’t want Bouteflika for a fourth term. He’s like the walking dead,” said Redouane Baba Abdi. 

Many of Bouteflika's campaign events, all of which Bouteflika was represented by a third party, have been disrupted by multiple demonstrations in protest of the ailing leader's bid for a fourth term and living conditions nationwide.

Youth, which make up 80 percent of Algeria's population, are primarily dissatisfied with the rampant unemployment and the country's reliance on handouts to survive despite economic growth on the national level due to oil revenues. 

“After we finish our studies there’s only unemployment and you need connections to get to work,” Abdi said. 

“We are in a backward world. It’s the old telling the young to get out of the way. The people have been corrupted by the distribution of houses and jobs...We have taught our youth to just to stick out their hand,” said Abderrahmane Hadj-Nacer, a former central bank governor and analyst.

However, the growing number of public demonstrations against the current ruling regime in Algeria may be the beginnings of a stronger opposition movement that truly can challenge the status quo. 

Political Analyst and former intelligence officer Chafiq Mesbah believes that the number of scattered demonstrations (10,000 were reported in 2013, according to police), "will slowly increase as the social and economic situation continues to deteriorate."

“I think all these little demonstrations will coalesce into a national movement. It will be the beginning of a process, though the explosion won’t happen immediately after,” he said.



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