Having removed the two major components of his predecessor Abdelmajid Tebboune’s action plan — which was intended to impede the corrupt ways of big business — Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia is now able to turn his hand to the pressing problems of his government’s own action plan and the draft budget for 2018.
Ouyahia held what we believe was his first full meeting with his government to work on his government’s action plan and the 2018 draft budget bill on 31 August. The former outlined the government’s policy from now until the 2019 presidential election, while the draft budget bill will have an even more serious and direct impact on the lives of Algerians. Both texts are intimately related and urgent. Not only does the draft budget have to be on the table no later than 1 October, but the government only has the legitimacy to make decisions after its plan has been approved by both Houses of Parliament: the National Assembly and the Senate. Before then, however, both texts must be adopted by the Council of Ministers.
At this stage, it is believed that a Council of Ministers meeting will be convened on or around 14 September, enabling Ouyahia to present his action plan to the National Assembly on 18 September. A few days must then be set aside for debate before the same process is undertaken in the Senate. At the beginning of October the Finance Minister has to present the 2018 Budget Law (Loi de Finance) to the National Assembly.
Making the whole process even more pressing is the fact that local elections are scheduled for 23 November. This means that Ouyahia’s action plan and budget will be absolutely central to the launch of the elections and the issues that they will focus on. This could be very awkward for Ouyahia because the measures planned by his government and the 2018 Budget — although not yet officially known — will almost inevitably be extremely unpopular.
Ouyahia is used to either being personally unpopular or introducing unpopular measures. This time, however, he has the additional problem of having to achieve the near impossibility of introducing unpopular measures while, at the same time, trying to avoid potentially intractable social unrest. To that end, he will need all the help he can get, which means keeping on side with his two other Tripartite partners: business and the trade unions. … [article continues] …
This is an excerpt from our weekly Algeria Politics & Security publication.