This article was published on the Equal Times website on 15 April 2014.
The Algerian presidential election, set for 17 April, appears to have been rigged in favour of the ruling president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, according to local activists and trade unionists.
Bouteflika is seeking a fourth term in office despite his poor health, which is paralysing the country’s institutions.
The head of state’s decision to run again has led to protests on an unprecedented scale, headed by the “Barakat” (Enough!) movement and other civil society groups, including the independent trade unions trying to mobilise workers despite the risks they face.
According to Rachid Malaoui, president of the public sector union Syndicat National Autonome des Personnels de l’Administration Publique (SNAPAP):
“What is at stake is not the result of the election, which is a farce. The powers that be, who are pulling the strings in this election, must accept a peaceful and democratic change. We are mobilising on the ground to voice the people’s discontent and to stress the urgent need for a truly long-term plan.”