Friday, 6 June 2014

Algeria: Prime Minister unveils the government's five-year plan

Also on Sunday 1 June, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal unveiled the government's plan of action for the next five years. As so many of the government’s five-year plans have come to grief in red-tape, delays, postponement, corruption and general inefficiencies, and are little more than annual reiterations, they are no longer taken quite as seriously as in the early years of the Bouteflika era.
Nevertheless, the National Press Service (APS) gave it top billing alongside the start of Ouyahia’s constitutional consultations.

According to APS, the plan is particularly focused on national security and stability, as well as building an emerging economy. In tones reminiscent of the earlier and more optimistic years of the Bouteflika era, Sellal said that the plan aims to enhance national reconciliation by convincing militants to lay down their arms and return to mainstream society. At the same time, counter-terrorism will be reinforced to safeguard homeland security.

As part of that reconciliation, Sellal said that Bouteflika had decided to "lift the ban on leaving the country for some people suspected of terrorism”. Although Sellal declined to name these people, he was referring to the lifting of travel bans issued against members of the outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), which was dissolved by court order in 1992.
Members of the now-dissolved FIS continue to oppose Bouteflika's government. It was strongly opposed to his fourth mandate, boycotted the April elections and is now boycotting the latest constitutional reform process.

Sellal also said that the government would hold regular dialogues with civil society and elected assemblies. He claimed the government was working to divide power among the judiciary, the legislature and the executive branches, pledging that reform will continue to improve public service of justice in a bid to make it fully independent and free. These are, however, all promises that Algerians have heard many times before and no longer pay much attention to.

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

© 2014 Menas Associates

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