Algeria's FLN 'defects' from president, supports 'people’s movement'

Algeria's FLN 'defects' from president, supports 'people’s movement'
The head of Algeria's FLN announced his party 'fully supports' the popular protests that have gripped the country, yet skepticism reigns over their true motives.
2 min read
20 March, 2019
Mouad Bouchareb is being accused of jumping ship by announcing support for the protests [Getty]

The head of Algeria's ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) party declared on Wednesday he and his party is in support of the popular protests that have gripped the country for the past four weeks.

"The sons of the FLN fully support this people's movement," Mouad Bouchareb told a press conference, adding that he hopes its objectives will achieved according to a "clear roadmap".

Bouchareb, who made the announcement seated in front of a portrait of President Bouteflika, drew criticism that he and his party were attempting to "save face" ahead of potential government turmoil.

The announcement comes the day after rival party RND also announced its support for the protests.

"We thought that seeking a 5th term was a mistake," spokesman Seddik Chiheb said yesterday.

The president's declaration he would run for a fifth term in February which sparked the anti-government protests.

"The current course of politics in Algeria: saving face. Mouad Bouchareb announces the FLN's support of the popular movement following the RND's move," tweeted Yasmina Allouche, a researcher specialising in Algeria.

Just last month, Bouchareb had told protesters: "To those who are dreaming of change I say 'Have nice dreams.'"

The ailing president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has made a series of U-turns in response to mass anti-government protests in recent weeks.

The protests provoked Bouteflika to concede to stepping down from the presidency when his fourth term ends on 28 April. On Monday, he retracted the decision, telling Algerians in a televised statement on Monday he was scrapping elections planned for April and announcing his own programme of reforms through a "national conference".

Unconfirmed reports from a source close to the presidency claim Bouteflika may in fact hand in his notice for the second time as soon as Thursday.

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