Euromesco Policy Brief n°101 : The return of Algerian youth in the public space

05-12-2019
Euromesco Policy Brief n°101 : The return of Algerian youth in the public space
Euromesco Policy Brief 101

The presidential election in Algeria is scheduled on 12 December, but some of the opposition refuse to go to the polls, because the conditions to calm things down before holding free and transparent elections do not seem to be met. Despite massive protests and a climate of increasing repression, the authorities – and in particular the army – seem to be determined to maintain the date of the elections at all costs.

The Algerian youth is on the front lines of the popular movement, better known as “hirak”. They demonstrate for a free and democratic Algeria, based on popular sovereignty and social justice. Long described as “apathetic” and uninterested in politics, the youth have become the spokesmen of this unprecedented contest that has shaken the country since 22 February, the date when Bouteflika presented his candidacy for the presidential election for a fifth mandate.

The purpose of this document is therefore to explain the reasons that kept youth away from the political scene and the ones that encouraged them to regain the public space and to reconcile with the country.

However, it will also be necessary to analyse whether the role of youth is limited to sounding the alarm following the executive decisions, or it is ready to become a political leader, able to bring Algeria towards a real democracy.