Monday, 21 May 2012

Algeria: 'Good abroad, bad at home'

Probably the best summary headline of the election result read: “Algeria elections look good abroad, bad at home.” This caption was widely reproduced in the international media. It portrayed the view that Algeria's Western allies could report that progress on democratic reform was underway in Algeria, which we do not believe is at all the case, while most Algerians regard the elections as a fraudulent farce.

The EU, which treats Algeria with kid gloves, largely because of the fact that Algeria supplies it with a fifth of its gas needs and is the third largest supplier after Russia and Norway and cooperates with it on terrorism matters, called the election a "step forward in the reform process" that would consolidate democracy.

Hugh Roberts, an Algeria expert at Boston's Tufts University who is also a former long-serving contributor to Menas' Algeria publications, said: “Algeria has satisfactory relations with Washington and Paris …. It needs to do well enough (with reform) not to embarrass its Western partners, and that's what it's done.”

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

© 2012 Menas Associates

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