Algeria. No to the farce of the legislative elections of 12 June! For the election of a sovereign constituent assembly!

Even though our party had already publicly expressed its political criticism and its rejection of the legislative elections that the de facto government intends to impose on us on 12 June 2021, the National Directorate of the party has just officially decided that the Socialist Workers' Party - PST - will not participate in this election.

For the PST – which has participated in several elections since 1991 with the aim of using the platform elections offer – without creating in advance a political balance of power within society, there can be no illusion as to the possibility of achieving the democratic and social change to which the popular masses aspire by electoral means. In the current context, these legislative elections come at a time when the popular Hirak, whatever its shortcomings and limitations, has returned since 22 February, raising the question of the choice between the popular camp and that of the government and its roadmap. The challenge to the legitimacy of the government is once again expressed by large popular demonstrations in several cities of the country. Like the 2002 elections, which took place in the aftermath of the popular uprising of the “black spring” of 2001, our party does not hesitate for a second to reject the farce of the legislative elections and to participate, as usual, in building the camp of the struggles and political and social mobilizations of our people.

For the PST, these elections are already – more than  previous ones – disqualified democratically by the extent of the repression and the attacks on freedoms. The so-called appeasement gestures limited to “pardoning” a few dozen political detainees are quickly contradicted by new arrests and other police and judicial harassment of activists, journalists and simple demonstrators. Worse, former detainees have publicly denounced cases of torture and rape by the security services. The basic democratic rights and freedoms of expression, demonstration, opinion, organisation, strike, etc., are muzzled on a daily basis. The public media are still closed to any criticism of the regime and their platforms continue to be monopolized exclusively by its representatives and by those who have shown their allegiance to it. The electoral law – endorsed by the same dissolved parliament that the government itself describes as corrupt and illegitimate – constitutes another obstacle to an honest and democratic election. For example, more than in the previous laws, the voting system chosen deliberately aims at depoliticizing the vote through the choice between candidates on the same list and not between political programmes. As a result, could not the “parity” between men and women be called into question? As for the public financing of candidates to the detriment of others, and which in fact legalises an inequality of opportunity, is it not above all a subterfuge to finance a possible future parliamentary majority?

For the PST, these legislative elections are a manoeuvre aimed at institutionalizing the continuity of the regime, like the presidential elections in December 2019 and the referendum on the new constitution in November 2020. Far from being limited to the reappointment of several figures openly in favour of a fifth term for Bouteflika, this continuity of the regime is mainly verified on the economic and social levels. It is the same liberal economic “reforms” that consist in privatizing the economy and national wealth, notably the public banks and even our subsoil, allowing a handful of oligarchs and multinationals to monopolize it. They are the same anti-social policies aimed at reducing salaries, abolishing subsidies for basic necessities, reducing social benefits, calling into question free medicine, and pushing our youth and entire sections of our people into unemployment and social insecurity. In short, these are the same neo-liberal choices that have led to the economic and social disaster we are living through and that were the deep reasons for the rejection of the regime and the popular uprising of the Hirak in February 2019.

For the PST, recovering popular sovereignty means the election of a sovereign constituent assembly that is representative of the democratic and social aspirations of the majority of our people who are workers, unemployed, women, small farmers and all the poor. In this perspective, the PST calls for the imperative convergence between the formidable popular movement that constitutes the Hirak and the social struggles, notably through the urgent establishment of a grassroots self-organization throughout the country, allowing the emergence of a democratic, anti-liberal and anti-imperialist alternative.

Freedom for all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience!

For the lifting of all obstacles to the exercise of democratic freedoms!

For the respect of trade union freedoms!

No to the continuity of the liberal, anti-social and authoritarian regime!

For the election of a Sovereign Constituent Assembly!

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