Hirak completes one year: Peaceful popular movement to save State from collapse

APS - 19 February 2020

ALGIERS- The Hirak, a peaceful popular and citizen movement with political demands, will complete, this Friday, its first year, with a major achievement: bringing an end to autocratic excesses and paving the way for a new governance in line with the evolution of society, saving the national State from collapse. Through its longevity and peaceful nature, this movement, unparalleled since Algeria's independence (1962), is, like the national liberation war (1954-1962), a reference model in the world.

The movement aspires to given a new interpretation to the notion of citizenship in Algeria, with the involvement of citizens in the management of public affairs and their determination to take charge of their own fate. On 22 February 2019 tens of thousands of people, of all ages and occupational categories, demonstrated in all cities of the country against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's plan to run for the fifth term.

The protestors denounced the corruption threatening the very foundations of the State and called for an overhaul of governance. Under the pressure of the Hirak movement, the presidential election that had been scheduled for April 18 was adjourned. After the resignation of Bouteflika on April 2, a second date was set (July 4), but the poll did not take place, for lack of presidential candidates. No candidacy application was validated by the Constitutional Council.

The electoral college was convened for a presidential election on December 12 by the acting head of State, Abdelkader Bensalah. The command of the People's National Army said it would make sure the election go smoothly, describing the poll as the "safest option and the least costly" for the country.

The Army command also supports justice in the fight against corruption. As a result, senior officials, including two prime ministers, a first since the country's independence and businessmen are tried and convicted. Elected on December 12 as President of the Republic by 58.13% of the votes cast, Abdelmadjid Tebboune said, since his first address, he "reached out to" the Hirak movement, recalling that he had dubbed it "blessed" on several occasions.

The new head of State called for a "serious dialogue in the service of Algeria" to build a new Republic. He pledged to undertake in-depth reforms, including a new Constitution to be validated by a popular referendum.