Monday, 25 June 2012

Belkhadem retains control of the FLN

Although possibly foreseeable with hindsight, this is a state of affairs that has been brought sharply into focus since last Saturday's (16 June) Special Meeting of the FLN, which saw the party's secretary-general and Abdelaziz Bouteflika's personal representative, Abdelaziz Belkhadem, turn the tables – at least for the time being - on his many enemies within the FLN.

He accomplished an extraordinary, but not wholly unexpected (as we ourselves sensed – 'Houdini' act at the meeting. For weeks, even months, there has been growing anticipation – for some, a certainty - that the growing fissure in the FLN between Belkhadem and the seemingly increasing number of young Turks would result in his overthrow as the party's boss at last week's special meeting. The numbers seemed stacked against him and yet, even as we went to press on Friday 15 June, there was a sense that Belkhadem had something up his sleeve and that his overthrow was not entirely certain.

The outcome was that he won a no-confidence vote by a show of hands. If there had been a secret ballot, the outcome would probably have been very different. But Belkhadem's insistence, as Secretary- General, on a show of hands, was the trademark of a wily old fox. He had Bouteflika's support and there were many who could not be seen to be voting against him. He has already moved with lightning speed to remove many of his main opponents from key party positions around the country.

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

© 2012 Menas Associates

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