Monday, 30 April 2012

Algeria: PM accused of arrogance and misuse of power

The commission in charge of supervising the elections (CNSEL) has publicly criticised Ahmed Ouyahia of misusing his position as prime minister in his electoral campaign as head of the RND. In what the commission regards as a clear-cut conflict of interest, it says that Ouyahia is deploying his position and access to state power in electioneering, giving himself an unfair advantage over competitors.

At a press conference, Mohammed Sidikki , the president of the CNSEL, accused the prime minister of “serious infractions”. He gave the example of the welcome given to Ouyahia by the wali of El Oued, who mobilised his administration and put local services – including transport – at the disposal of the campaigning politician; advantages not enjoyed by his electoral rivals. “The law is clear in this instance. The wali is the representative of the state, and as such, he cannot be used as a political propaganda tool by anyone,” said Sidikki. Sidikki also hit out at Ouyahia's arrogance, criticising his campaign speeches in which he declared that “all the achievements” in Algeria were thanks to him. “He should be the first to know that everything that has been achieved in this country is thanks to the hydrocarbons wealth,” noted Sidikki, adding that if Ouyahia did not stop this kind of campaigning, the legal authorities would intervene to force him.

Sidikki's interventions add a welcome frankness to the electoral campaign, and seem to underline further how much the prime minister is reviled among certain Algerians. Online comments on this story include: “Mr Ouyahia does not think anything is beyond dictatorship and the abuse of power, he has never respected the people” and the cynical observation that “you have not understood that Ouyahia is the republic”.

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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