Thursday, 31 May 2012

Algeria: New Parliament sworn in

The newly-elected MPs (Deputies) were sworn in on Saturday 26 May in the first plenary session of the new People's National Assembly. As they had promised, Islamist MPs walked out of the inaugural session to protest against an election they say was rigged to hand a majority to the ruling elite's party. Before walking out, they held up placards reading "No to fraud!"

The MPs who left were from the Green Algeria Alliance - comprising Bouguerra Soltani's Movement of Society for Peace and the two smaller moderately Islamist parties El Islah and Ennahda - who together have about 60 seats in the 462-seat parliament.

Meanwhile, the Front for the Protection of Democracy (FPD) - formed on 21 May, comprising Abdallah Djaballah's Justice and Development Front and 15 other small parties, and had a collective total of 30 seats - held the opening ceremony of their parallel constituent assembly at the Republican Patriotic Rally (RPR) headquarters. The RPR's Abdelkader Merbah said that the parties sitting in the "People's Parliament", dubbed the “boycott parliament”, will decide how this parallel 462-seat chamber will operate.

The Interior Minister claimed that this was all “illegal” and that it “undermines democracy, the will of the people and the state”. He urged those boycotting the assembly to “resign”. It is unclear when or whether they will be returning but the release of the CNISEL report, three days after the inauguration of the new parliament, is likely to have a strong bearing on where things go from here.

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

© 2012 Menas Associates

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