To thwart untold economic crisis and rapid propagation of the coronavirus, experts recommend urgent dialogue between government and “Harik” movement.
Several weeks after calls by the United Nations and the Arab League for the Algerian government to seek a long lasting solution to the socio-political crisis that led to the departure of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from power, here comes another call from the International Crisis Group on the two parties to sit on the negotiation table.
In a statement issued by the group on Wednesday, July 28, 2020 the International Crisis Group urged the Algerian government and the anti-regime movement ‘‘Hirak’‘to avoid what it calls a major economic crisis that might bring untold hardship to the country by given dialogue a chance. In their call, the Group cites the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a fall in oil prices. Algeria is exposed to fluctuations in oil prices due to its dependence on the commodity, which represents over 90 percent of its external revenues. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that the North African nation is expected to experience a 5.2 percent recession in 2020 because if the virus and oil crisis.
It should be noted that a few hours after being elected, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said he is ready for talks to "build a new Algeria". But leaders of the “Harik” movement rejected his offer saying it is a ploy by the establishment to consolidate power and demanded a return to civilian rule and the elimination of corrupt officials and a genuine independence from oppression, authoritarian rule, nepotism and putting in place of a “new republic”. From daily, the protest that began in February became weekly and then suspended in mid-March due to the outbreak of the covid-19 crisis.
However, the covid-19 pandemic has not prevented Algerian authorities from prosecuting and convicting ‘‘Hirak’‘activists, political opponents, journalists and users of social media. According to the National Committee for the Liberation of Prisoners, nearly 60 people are currently behind bars, most of them for Facebook posts.