Some Algeria stuff

Lousia Hanoune offered her opinions on illegal immigration and Hugo Chavez at a talk to her party’s summer school (see below) yesterday, saying that “urgent action” from the authorities to stop the flood of harragas going off to sea or being arrested on their way. She also praised Hugo Chavez, in the wake of his recent visit to Algeria, saying that his 2005 visit helped in pushing through changes to the hydrocarbons law. She called the Venezualan president’s visit “a positive sign in terms of encouraging the Algerian government to take economic decisions and encourage the disposal of foreign diktats and halting negotiations towards WTO accession.” Hanoune’s “opposition” since April has been in the form of, as La Tribune puts it, “applauding recent government actions,” and then stating depressing facts about the country’s economic conditions. This has become so much the case even the official El Moudjahid was so moved by her remarks on the recent supplementary budget law that it felt it necessary to publish an entire article on her, quoting her, in effect thanking her, for supporting the government’s undertaking. Indeed, El Moudjahid‘s favorite bits from Hanoune’s recent comments were her description of the law as “a large, bold victory for the national economy” and that she “questioned the reactions of some” to the new law, e.g. other quarters of the opposition and business classes. Clever, Hanoune makes certain never, ever to say that “there is no poverty in Algeria,” as some evidently confused ministers have.

L’Expresion has a summary of the meeting places and agendas for the major parties’ summer school sessions, meetings, conferences and training sessions for the party cadres and faithful. Interestingly, it is reported the PM Ahmed Ouyahia’s RND has had three regional conferences (in Constantine, Blida and Oran), but its Southern (e.g. Saharan) conference was postponed for after Ramadhan, due to the excessive heat. The FLN completed its summer program on 14 July at Tipaza, looking towards the 9th Congress in early 2010 and policies related to agriculture and broadcasting. Hanoune’s PT began their summer school this week, due to logistical complications as a result of the PanAfrican festival. El Islah held its party sessions in June and early August, commemorating the 20 August, 1955 Skikda killings with lectures as well as meetings to commemorate the Congress of the Soummam, at Ifri. Moussa Touati’s FNA was too strapped for cash to hold national conferences, and instead held various local meetings across the country, emphasizing committee structuring and training. The FNA’s scheduling was also hampered because of the PanAf festival. The FNA, despite its mediocre showings at the polls, and undistinguished ideology, “is part of a simple movement, but is becoming a political party, thematically and structurally,” its moustached leader declared. The ever stumbling AHD 54 of Fawzi Rebiane held its sessions in July, and resolved that its energy would best be spend on proposing solutions for transport related troubles and increasing contact between party activists and citizens. MDS held its meetings in early August, bringing in new recruits from the universities. The article describes RA and en-Nahdah as “in hibernation,” due to the heat, perhaps by metaphor referring to their internal intrigues and incompetence.

To speak of the Chavez visit, it resulted in renewal of the 2006 memoranda of understanding between the two countries, an invitation from Chavez to Bouteflika to the Afro-Latin America Summit and quite a lot of bluster about South-South cooperation, solidarity and the Third Worldist rhetoric Bouteflika is so well known for. Bouteflika hosted an Iftar in Chavez’s honor at El Mouradia Palace. The significance of the visit ending up being that Chavez perhaps now knows more about Ramadhan than he did before.

Meanwhile the Interior Ministry continues to work at re-drawing the administrative map of the Southern daïras (sub-wilaya administrative districts), with the intention of re-organizing them based on population in order to “bring the government closer to the people”. The re-division of daïras is the result of demands at the local level, where people often feel isolated from the structures and services of the state, and security concerns related to banditry and AQIM in the more remote and poorly serviced areas.

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