President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s Speech to the Nation

Dear Fellow Citizens,

Algeria naturally keeps track of ongoing changes on the international stage and especially those that have taken place in some Arab countries. In this situation, Algeria reaffirms its attachment to the brotherly countries’ sovereignty, its rejection of foreign interference, and its respect for each nation’s decision stemming from its national sovereignty.

All nations, and especially young ones, aim their effort at social and economic progress, more justice and freedom and strive for better governance. Democracy, freedom, justice, and the State of law are legitimate demands that no one could ignore.

Since our nation is young and ambitious, there are a great many demands to satisfy, day after day, in each and every field. Therefore, we are called upon more than ever before to implement social, economic, and political reforms.

In this respect, we have embarked on a course of action to meet our citizen’s legitimate social demands. A new mechanism was put in place to stabilize the prices of basic foodstuff as they plummeted in the world marketplace.

Significant incentives were made available to facilitate access to real estate and bank credits. These measures are expected to help generate wealth and improve employment.

Also, the various mechanisms to help the young and jobless willing to start a micro-business have been enhanced. In parallel, the government-supported mechanisms to encourage the employment of graduates have been improved both qualitatively and quantitatively. The duration of work contracts was extended, and contracts were made renewable, with priority granted to beneficiaries to be appointed on a permanent basis.

As to housing, a tremendous effort has been underway since 2000 to meet a great deal of demand and quell protests.

The five-year programme being implemented makes provision for the construction of two million homes of which one million will be delivered before 2014.

To summarize, the results are tangible and statistical data are known to everyone. They belong to the whole nation and nobody could make us believe that development will be beneficial to some social classes alone. However, can we claim that everything is for the best?

Obviously, we cannot. Social scourges such as corruption, nepotism, and overspending are still present and the State is combating them with force and determination.

Important measures will be adopted soon to boost the implementation of our programmes and make the state administration more dynamic. They will help enhance the fight against bureaucracy and administrative dysfunctions, and will counteract to any misuse of public finance.

In this context, serious action will be taken to promote both public and private enterprises to ensure their development and modernization since this is the best way to generate wealth and new jobs.

More than two decades ago, Algeria embarked on political pluralism for which the Algerian people, unassisted by any other country, paid a very heavy tribute. The political pluralism in our country is illustrated by the presence of about thirty political parties and a multiparty parliament. Pluralism also translates into freedom of expression which is apparent from our media diversity and bold media language.

We can be proud of belonging to a country where freedom of expression is a tangible reality and where nobody is put in prison for holding a different opinion nor becomes a political prisoner. This is a remarkable achievement that should be consolidated to ensure its sustainability.

Today, we are called upon to deepen the democratic process, strengthen the foundations of the State of law, reduce disparities, and accelerate social and economic development.

After the restoration of peace and security, the launching of ambitious development programmes, and the lifting of the state of emergency, I decided to go further and launch a program of political reforms aimed at the deepening of the democratic process to enable the citizens to increase their contribution to decision making on which their future and that of their children will depend.

I shall exert the power entrusted to me by the Constitution to ask the parliament to revise the overall legislation related to the practice of democracy and to the citizens’ free choice. The electoral law will be thouroughly reviewed. This revision should meet the expectations of our citizens who are willing to exercise their electoral right in the best conditions of democracy and transparency in order to have their representatives in the country’s elected bodies.

After this electoral law is adopted, all necessary measures will be taken to ensure the transparency and fairness of elections, including accepting foreign observers with the approval of all legally registered parties.

To enhance this step, the law on political parties will also be reviewed, and the parties’ role, mission, and organization will be revised to ensure a more efficient contribution to the process of renewal. The introduction and promulgation of an organic law on women’s representatives in the country’s elected bodies will take place before the next elections.

Public audiovisual media will be enhanced by the creation of theme and specialized channels that will stay open to the whole array of opinions. The law on information will introduce a deontological chart to serve as a reference and existing legislation will be supplemented by excluding violations of the press laws from the penal code.

Only a year separates us form next general elections. This period is enough time for us to review, improve, and enhance the legal basis for the exercise of democracy and the expression of the nation’s free will in a way that corresponds to a quality representation in the country’s elected bodies.

Since the State is responsible for the development policy and public order and security, I shall see to it that our objectives are met, counting on the citizen’s participative effort and relying on the State institutions in conformity with the country’s Constitution and laws.