ALGIERS, 12 March 2021 – Early parliamentary elections will hold next June 12 in Algeria, the office of the country’s president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, announced Friday.
Tebboune dissolved the lower house of parliament last February 18, a year ahead of schedule, in the hope of staving off calls for reforms.
The law requires elections to be held within five months of the dissolution of parliament.
Last November, Algerians voted for amendments to the constitution giving more powers to the prime minister and parliament, despite low voter turnout.
Algerian authorities have been hoping to avoid a return of the “Hirak” – Arabic for “movement” – which organized the months-long mass street protests that culminated in April 2019, in the stepping down from office, of long-time former Algerian president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Protests continued after Bouteflika resigned and Tebboune came to power, demanding sweeping reforms.
Bouteflika’s allies had an overwhelming majority in the dissolved lower house which was elected for a five-year term in May 2017.
“Hirak” organizers have said they believe Tebboune has failed to deliver on the sweeping reforms they seek, including demands that former allies of Bouteflika be fired or forced to resign.
On the second anniversary of the “Hirak” protests last February 22, organizers relaunched the movement.
Elected in December 2019, Tebboune vowed to implement political and economic changes in a bid to put an end to the “Hirak” which now sees Tebboune – a former prime minister of Bouteflika – as part of the ruling elite they need to sweep out of office.
Crowds have returned to the streets of Algeria in twice-a-week protests since then, defying COVID-19 restrictions in order to maintain the pressure for reforms.
Latest protests have included calls for Tebboune to step down.
Protesters have described Tebboune as the civilian façade of poorly veiled military rule.
Tebboune also issued a presidential pardon leading to the release of about 60 individuals either still detained or sentenced to prison terms for their roles in the “Hirak” protests.