It’s been more than a month since my last post here. I confess it’s because of this very last post that I couldn’t publish anything. Every time I thought of a topic I’d realise what I was going to write would hinder my chances for the presidency. But it cannot be helped, I’ll take the risk knowing it’s small as most of my electorate doesn’t read in English.
A few weeks ago, everybody in Algeria was surprised by the transparency displayed by the Algerian regime over the president’s health. Both private and state news outlets gave many details about it and we even saw his personal doctor interviewed here and there. We learned that the president had a transient ischemia, that he didn’t want to go abroad and was forced to as his case couldn’t be treated in Algeria. And soon we were told he was in a great shape and just needed some rest. But after one week of apparent honesty, information flow stopped. Rumours then started, he’s dead, he’s resting but managing current affairs (Sellal declaration but I put it as a rumour), he’s back in Algeria, he’s in Geneva, he’s still in hospital, his case is very serious, etc. Continue reading
Algeria seems to be back in the 80s, the period before the East Block collapsed. People cannot find milk anywhere and are queuing early in the morning to have a chance to buy one or two litres. This reminds me of when I was a kid and had to wake up at 5am to queue at the baker’s in order to buy some bread, or when we all queued to buy oil, sugar or coffee. The minister says we shouldn’t worry as there is no milk shortage at all (lovely 80s propaganda), that it’s just a matter of organisation which will be solved very soon (he didn’t add that fakhamatouh Bouteflika would be the solver).
Milk is not the only thing missing in Algeria nowadays. Continue reading
Don’t be too happy, “new” in the title is very relative. The APS has just published the president’s communiqué announcing a small “cabinet reshuffle”. This new government has been expected for many weeks, and many rumours circulated on who would be in and who would be out.
Obviously, it is a very small reshuffle and there is little to talk about or analyse. Bouteflika has often declared that there are not many men in Algeria whom he trusts and thinks are up for a minister position. Ahmed Ouyahia remains our Prime Minister but will be assisted by a newly appointed Vice-Prime Minister, promoted-Yazid Zerhouni. To be honest, I am not sure Zerhouni is there to help Ouyahia, and I don’t even know what’s the official role of a Vice-Prime minister. Perhaps someone or time will help me understand. Zerhouni’s former position in the interior ministry is taken by Ould Kablia, who got promoted as well. But this appointment doesn’t change anything as Ould Kablia, former member of the MALG, was already in the ministry.
Other important ministers such as Sellal (rumours said he’d be the minister of interior as a reward for successfully directing Bouteflika’s 2009 campaign), Medelsi, Djoudi or Ghoul stay in their positions too.
You probably noticed the absence of Bouteflika’s other close ministers, Temmar and Khelil. Continue reading
Is it normal for one company to detain 98% of foreign currency receipts and produce 30% of GDP of the richest and second largest country in Africa? The following video discusses the repercussions of the recent corruption scandal involving the CEO of SONATRACH on the Algerian economy. Analysts are split as to the meaning of this scandal with regards to the political power balance within the Algerian regime: are the millitary sending a warning signal to president Bouteflika or is Bouteflika trying to prove that his government has a zero tolerance policy on corruption even when it involves the country’s economic artery? But if that is the case, where has Chakib Khelil (our energy Minister who is an American national and has an interesting CV) been all this time when the CEO of SONATRACH was mocking about? Who knows and just how many Algerians really do care?! Who should be the judge? The government (it wants to come clean perhaps?), the millitary (they have been caring for Algeria ever since 1962 after all and they are the ones who care most about the country maybe?) or our independent and efficacious judiciary system?
The Algerian minister of higher education and scientific research, Mr. Rachid Haraoubia, proudly announced yesterday that 100% of the Algerian students and university teachers who received a state sponsorship during the past five years have returned to Algeria at the end of their studies.
He unfortunately didn’t give any details on these people. What specialities they followed, how long they stayed abroad, etc.? But I believe most of them were university teachers as this has been the trend for the past years. And this might explain the high (perfect) return rate.
Bouteflika decided in 2005 to stop sponsoring the top Algerian students in the baccalaureate exams since only a tiny minority returned home after they graduated. These students were indeed sent to the UK, France and Tunisia with annual costs going up to £20k/year/student in the UK. The laureates are now directed to the newly created Preparatory Classes for the National High Schools (a copy of the famous French CPGE) where they prepare admission exams to the transformed National High Schools. This system does also exist in Tunisia and Morocco with the difference that the Moroccan and Tunisian students are allowed to take the French High Schools exams.