In this month’s edition of Algeria Focus our lead consultant analyses the implications that Algeria will face over the coming months following the on-going changes which began with the ‘cocainegate’ scandal.
- General Ahmed Gaïd Salah’s intervention in changing senior officers in the security forces is likely to have major implications for the presidential election. The most likely outcome is that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will not stand for a fifth term. Gaïd Salah is likely to play the role of kingmaker, but who he will back is still an open question.
- The judicial investigation into ‘cocainegate’ and the expected court proceedings will be extremely embarrassing for the regime, as are all such exposures of the workings of the ‘mafia state’. However — as with previous scandals, such as Khalifa Bank, Brown & Root Condor (BRC) and Sonatrach — those at the top will escape prosecution.
- Irrespective of Gaïd Salah’s effective coup d’état, there is likely to be another crisis within the ruling FLN within the next few months. This may centre around Djamel Ould Abbes’s leadership but more likely that the ruling party has not chosen an alternative successor to Bouteflika and now has little time to do so.
- Although most of Gaïd Salah’s major changes have probably been effected, we expect the ‘cleansing’ process within the police and gendarmerie to continue through the holiday season, although with less publicity and press coverage.
- We also expect a movement of walis in coming weeks. Several desert wilayas associated with the hydrocarbons sector are likely to be affected.
- The scorching heat will lead to more demonstrations and protests, although it is unlikely they will coalesce into any major threat to the regime.
- French pressure on Algeria to desist from its double game of supporting terrorists in the Sahel looks like having positive implications for the Sahel, but may open new security concerns in Algeria and Tunisia.
- The latest IMF and US State Department reports on the economy will contribute further to already diminishing FDI, but are unlikely to lead to any immediate changes of policy.