Algerian leaders who have in turn released Abdelaziz Bouteflika will know Friday, which promises to be a new test day of major events, if their proposal to sidelined the president is enough to appease the popular protest.
In advocating Tuesday the implementation of constitutional mechanisms to remove Mr. Bouteflika, General Ahmed Gaïd Salah, Chief of Staff of the army for 15 years and until then unwavering support of the President, quickly rallied to his cause most of those who were the most zealous proselytes of the head of state.
Those who, for months, have pushed the candidacy of President Bouteflika for a 5th term, detonator of the dispute, now deviate.
On Thursday, Ali Haddad announced his resignation from the Forum of Business Leaders (FCE), the main Algerian employers’ organization, which he chaired. His organization had become an instrument of political support to the Head of State and support for his candidature for a 5th term.
Before him, it is the National Democratic Rally (RND), pillar of the majority, which has let go Abdelaziz Bouteflika, through his boss, Ahmed Ouyahia. Still Prime Minister less than a month ago, he asked the head of state to resign.
Abdelmadjid Sidi Saïd, Secretary General of the UGTA, the main trade union center of the country, who once sang the praises of the president, is now also behind the proposal of General Gaïd Salah.
- “Dying Reign” –
Those who “supported him in all his decisions and applauded all his statements … are also the first to stab him in the back: Bouteflika has not yet completely fallen that they rush to accelerate his fall “, notes the independent site All About Algeria (TSA), denouncing the” system in all its ugliness “.
Only the National Liberation Front (FLN), the former majority single party in the Assembly, has not yet deserted, but dissidence is increasingly heard.
“In the Algerian political system, it is the power that creates its support, it is not the support that gives power,” said Moustapha Hammouche Thursday in a chronicle of the French daily Liberté.
And the center of gravity of power seems to have moved. For two days, it is the photo of the general Gaïd Salah which appears in one of the daily newspaper El Moudjahid. Relaying the messages of power, the paper greeted Wednesday the proposal of the Chief of Staff.
The departure of Mr. Bouteflika “is now in the hands of the Constitutional Council, the only institution formally entitled to initiate” the procedure proposed by General Gaid Salah, to declare the head of state unfit because of “serious illness and “unless he resigns,” writes El Moudjahid on Thursday.
Forty-eight hours after the proposal of the Chief of Staff and despite the defections in series, Abdelaziz Bouteflika is still in office. “The reign of Bouteflika is dying, even if his clan tries to resist,” notes the editorial of the daily Liberté.
- “Thermometer” –
It remains to be seen whether the eventual sidelining of the president, who has been very weak since 2013 due to the after-effects of a stroke, will be enough to calm the dispute, on the eve of a sixth consecutive Friday of protest, and a month later. the constitutional expiry of its current mandate.
For the Arabic-speaking daily, Friday will be displayed as “the real thermometer” and will be “the opportunity to discover” if the proposal to sideline the head of state “cracked or not the mobilization”. Last week, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of the country’s cities.
Several supporters of the dispute, such as lawyer Moustapha Bouchachi or the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH), are already opposing the implementation proposed by the army, Article 102, allowing the head of state to be sidelined.
The process envisages too short deadlines to guarantee a free and transparent presidential one explains in particular the LADDH, which denounces a “ultimate subterfuge” of the power “to perpetuate the system decried and rejected by the people”.
The French daily El Watan denounces “a huge trap” and warns against “the ultimate illusion (…) to believe that they are figures of the past (…) who will embody promises of the future.”
“The regime is now for the departure of Bouteflika, but the people are for the departure of the regime,” says Liberté.
By the way, on Thursday, on the forecourt of the Grande Poste – the rendezvous of almost daily events in the heart of Algiers–, a few hundred architects and bailiffs gathered, some chanting : “Bouteflika, you will leave, take Gaid Salah with you”.