ALGIERS, 26 February 2021 – The recent reshuffle of the government in Algeria amidst a return to widespread dscontent in the form of street protests are signals all is not well.

Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune claims that the reforms his administration is putting in place – the dissolution of parliament, the call for early elections and the release of detained activists – represent change.

President Tebboune - Photo Sada El Balad

President Tebboune – Photo Sada El Balad

The oppositon, notably the organixers of the revived “Hirak” – Arabic for “movement”, whose supporters resumed mass street protests last February 22 – hold that Tebboune is not offering change; but more of the same.

Some of the “Hirak” organizers have gone so far as to claim that Tebboune is merely the civilian façade of a military regime.

“After three days of waiting for the radical government reshuffle that would meet the requirements of the current phase and the difficult economic and social conditions the country is going through, President Abdelmajid Tebboune announced a third government led by Djerad,” said Samir Bin Al-Arabi, one of the leaders of the “Hirak”.

Outgoing & Incoming Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad - Photo The National

Outgoing & Incoming Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad – Photo The National

Everyone, including the outgoing prime minister, who after the so-called reshuffle, was maintained in the position as incoming prime minister, expected a different outcome.

This “came as a surprise to everybody,” Al-Arabi said of the former prime minister becoming the new prime minister as well.

The Arabic Post alleged Thursday that the cabinet reshuffle was meant really a smokescreen for dismissing Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad.

However, the decision was, reportedly, nullified at the last moment when the Algerian presidency found out that the decision would not have the support of the powerful military complex.

Algerian Democracy Hits Troubled Waters - Photo The New York Times

Algerian Democracy Hits Troubled Waters – Photo The New York Times

The newspaper says observers have made the claim that the Supreme Security Council played a major role in keeping Djerad in his position of prime minister, effectively blunting any effect the cabinet reshuffle was meant to have.

What happened “confirms that there is a power struggle between the presidency and the army’s chief of staff over running the country’s affairs,” Al-Arabi speculated.

The cabinet reshuffle was being made at the same time as parliament was dissolved and early legislative elections were to be announced.

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