By Souad Sbai
The belief has so far been the most important weapon used by the Algerian people. The belief in their own reasons and, above all, the belief of being able to get them to prevail over the unwillingness of the old regime to step aside. Over the course of 15 Fridays of protest, starting in mid-February, the Algerians have succeeded in obtaining Bouteflika’s resignation and the postponement of the presidential elections scheduled on July 4th. And surely they won’t stop until they have achieved all the set goals.
The General and head of the armed forces, Ahmed Salah, the strong man of the establishment, perhaps thought that to satisfy the protesters it was enough to convince Bouteflika to withdraw his candidacy for a fifth term and to leave the scene definitively. Later constitutional legality would be in charge of doing the rest, allowing him to carry out the transition according to his own interests, crowning a new president loyal to him after the new elections.
Thus, the appointment of the president of the Senate, Abdelkader Bensalah, as head of the interim state for a period of 90 days was reached, within which a new president should have been elected, according to the procedures provided for by law.
Salah, however, has underestimated Algerians’ determination, who are not willing to reach agreements or accept compromises that harm them. Bensalah is in fact a leading representative of the old regime, along with Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, appointed by Bouteflika, and the president of the Constitutional Council, Tayeb Belaiz. Therefore, all three must resign; It is not possible to establish any kind of dialogue or negotiation with them: this is the firm position maintained by the protest.
A new government, made up of figures elected by the people and not related to Bouteflika, in charge of completing the transition phase, including the appointment of an independent commission to oversee the presidential elections. The celebration of the elections established by Bensalah on July 4, although it is the result of a legally formal decision, it cannot be considered legitimate since the operations would be managed by a ruling class that, after decades of corruption and crimes, has lost Algerians confidence.
In a new attempt to soften the demonstrations, General Salah openly argues in favor of the arrest and complaints against some businessmen tied to Bouteflika, those who from their point of view can be sacrificed at the altar of justice, while Bensalah, Bedoui and Belauz remain in place.
But the Algerians have not fallen into the trap and tens of thousands of people continue to crowd the streets and squares in the capital, Algiers, to ask for the elimination of any vestige of the old regime.
The demonstrations have always taken place in a peaceful and orderly manner. Only one Friday was feared that it could degenerate into violence, but it cannot be ruled out that it was the police who sought the clash. To prevent incidents from occurring, the following Friday, the demonstrators deployed their orange vests to separate themselves from the security forces.
Algerian’s insistence has been rewarded with the postponement of the elections scheduled for July 4, for which no candidate emerged, apart from two figures of lesser importance. Because of opposition exercised by the protest, the old regime did not dare to present candidates. A real test of strength carried out by Algerian people, which will be crucial for the future of their truly democratic revolution.