Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

Africa

Ex-Islamists divided on Bouteflika's amnesty

Video by Armen GEORGIAN , Adel GASTEL , Noreddine BEZZIOU

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-04-08

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s amnesty to former Islamist rebels who have reject violence has won him some backers among the old guard of renounced Islamists. But not all have signed up for the cause.

Religion played a central role in the brutal Algerian 1990s civil war. And the issue of religion, specifically political Islam, continues to dog this North African nation that will hold presidential elections Thursday.


The 1990s violence was sparked by the cancelation of the 1992 elections -which the hard-line Islamist FIS (Front Islamique de Salut) party expected to win. The ensuing civil war was fought with a grotesque ferocity that left an estimated 150,000 people dead.


Algeria today is in recovery mode following Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s amnesty to former militants who have renounced violence. The amnesty was approved in a 2005 referendum.


Abdel Hafid Ben Ali, a former FIS member, has renounced violence and now backs Bouteflika’s national reconciliation policy.


“My story has an important role to play in the reconciliation process, a process which is the best, and indeed only path to lead this country out of crisis,” he told FRANCE 24.



‘If it wasn’t for reconciliation, Algeria would still be in crisis’


During the 1990s, the pan-Islamist Muslim Brotherhood was bitterly opposed to the Algerian leadership. But today, the MSP (Movement of Society for Peace), which is widely considered the successor to the Algerian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, backs Bouteflika’s candidacy.


"If it wasn’t for reconciliation, Algeria would still be in crisis,” said Abderrahmane Saidi, an MSP parliamentarian. “Bouteflika has convinced people that reconciliation is necessary, and he has worked to make it a reality."


Bouteflika is widely expected to win Thursday’s presidential vote by a comfortable margin.


But critics of his amnesty say it lacked details and question its implementation. For instance, while there are no stated provisions banning former FIS rebels to stand for election, the government has in effect blocked former FIS leaders from running for public office.


And security experts note that the new branch of hard-line Islamists –notably al Qaeda’s North African branch– is not interested in democratic dialogue.


In a message posted on an Islamist site over the weekend, Abu Mussaab Abdul Wadud, whose real name is Abdulmalek Droukdel, called on Algerians to boycott Thursday’s poll.


Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility a series of deadly suicide bombings in Algeria last year, and seeks to unite Islamist groups across Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

 

Date created : 2009-04-08

COMMENT(S)