According to the Ministry of the Interior, out of the Electoral Corps of 22,883,772 of registrants, the participation rate reached 44.96% for the elections of the Assemblies of Prefectures (APW) and 46.83% for the communal assemblies (APC), giving a slight increase in relation to the participation rate in the local elections of 2012 (40.92% for APW and 44.26% for APC). The votes cast are in the order of 10,140,000 for the APW and 10.5 million voters for the APC. The number of blank ballots is 1.8 million in the election of APC and 1,080,000 for APW, although important, a relative decrease from to the numbers of voters compared to previous elections. The lessons of the Algerian local elections are not only to be learned by the Algerians themselves but to also be meditated by all in the MENA region.
As put by Zawya’s latest article, Algeria‘s ruling parties retained their majority in local elections, taking more than 50 percent of the vote, the interior minister said on Friday. Participation is closely watched by officials as they attempt to reverse a trend of increasing political apathy. More than half of Algeria’s population are under 30 and many feel disconnected from the ageing elite which runs the country.
Are there any lessons to be learned? Yes and these number eight as follows:
First, the process of the elections went generally in a quiet, except for a few isolated cases atmosphere. It must be recognized as a better participation in relation to past local elections including that of the Legislatives of May 4th, 2017; citizens having certainly been more attentive to the local personalities they know.
Second, this can be an indication for the forthcoming presidential elections of April 2019. Meanwhile, we have a good outfit of the FLN party as first political force that is far ahead of the RND whether forr the APCs or the APW. There were some breakthrough of a young party and a notable regression of the so-called Islamic parties.
Third, the constituted bodies such as the armed forces that had been targeted, by some parties through the press and television, information taken over by the international media, claiming it to be wrong or right and that these would have contributed to the jam of the ballot boxes and it would be better to preserve these strategic institutions off any political turmoil, while recognizing its members with the right to vote freely.
4th, because of the voting mode, eliminating small parties; it would be desirable to have a proportional system. With this method of voting for decades we have results that do not reflect the real picture of society, giving the same political component for years that does not translate the social reality.
5th, we witnessed a dull election campaign with promises without a tomorrow knowing that the local elected officials have little or no real power of decision. This reflects a significant demobilization of the population, which is more accentuated for the youth, reflecting the lack of confidence between the state and the citizen. And the big problem is how to restore that confidence. Hence the urgency to revise the codes of prefectures in order to involve and empower local elected officials by a real decentralization and overall functioning of both the political and economic system. Indeed, a considerable political training background has surfaced, often without a real program or serious prospects, which is mainly manifested on the occasion of electoral appointments as a result of the current State subsidies.
6th, an intellectual and above all moral level of those who will have to legislate and manage communes would be required as a minimum. Why not require, because of the obvious low and doubtful levels of some of the candidates, that in the future a minimum of university curricula and clearance by justice should be attained prior to be eligible?
7th, is about reorganizing on democratic foundations all civil society by putting In place effective intermediary networks between the state and the citizen referring to a real political decentralization and a change of course of the main economic policies.
8th, if the official participation rate is subtracted from the large number of zero ballots, the participation rate is less than 35%, a rate to ponder by political parties yet that this is not peculiar to Algeria alone; the world’s citizens tend to be uninterested in politics, with a high rate of abstention.
In summary after these elections, the citizen and the authorities are again faced with the harsh economic and social reality. A change in the trajectory of socio-political and economic and a broad front to mobilize all segments of the public is urgent in the face of the inevitable budgetary restrictions and potential tensions between 2017 and 2020.