Dialogue mediation panel in Algeria likely to fail amid authority’s intransigence

Spokesperson of the Independent Panel for National Dialogue and Mediation in Algeria on Tuesday said the group is likely to be dissolved if the authority does not respond positively before any dialogue with the political class to find a way out of the crisis hitting the North African nation.

Karim Younes, head of the dialogue mediation panel composed of six independent individuals, told the state-run radio channel 1 that “we have set a couple of appeasement conditions, including the release of people arrested during the marches in recent months, and lifting the security checkpoints set in the entrances of the capital Algiers in a bid to prevent Algerian citizens from taking part in the weekly marches staged every Friday.”

The group also requires the resignation of the current cabinet led by Prime Minister Nourredine Bedoui and replacing it with a caretaker cabinet until electing a new president.

“The members of the mediation group have not started any dialogue process as long as our conditions have not been met,” Younes added.

He further assumed that the group “is likely to be dissolved in case the presidency doesn’t respond to these conditions.”

Last week, interim President Abdelkader Bensalah met with the members of this dialogue mediation team as he called on justice authority to release the protesters arrested during the recent marches, and demanded security authorities to lift the tough measures that prevent people from entering the capital every Friday.

Meanwhile, Army Chief of Staff, Ahmed Gaid Salah, on Tuesday hailed the establishment of the dialogue mediation group, yet he rejected “dictating” any preconditions ahead of launching dialogue process to resolve the political crisis hitting the country.

Addressing senior army officials and troops in western Algiers, Gaid Salah indicated that “organizing presidential election as soon as possible is the main goal of any dialogue initiative.”

In fact, a key member of the mediation group, Smail Lalmas, announced his resignation, soon after the speech of Army Chief of Staff, as he wrote on his official Facebook account “amid the absence of any positive response to the popular demands that we have transmitted to the presidency.”

According to observers, this first mediation dialogue initiative has failed amid the rejection of the authority, represented by the army, to make any concession.

On July 3, Bensalah urged “all political players to join the comprehensive dialogue process that the government is due to launch in a bid to discuss the forthcoming presidential elections, while providing their suggestions.”

For now, a new attempt to launch dialogue process is needed likely to overcome the current political stalemate, observers suggest.

Algeria has seen wide-scale protests since Feb. 22, forcing former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign on April 2.

The demonstrators are mow demanding the resignation of the interim president and the cabinet under the pretext that they belong to the government of the ousted president.


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