Islamist party quits Algerian government
ALGIERS, Algeria - The Associated PressA moderate Islamist party pulled out of Algeria’s governing coalition Jan. 1, saying that 2012 is the year of competition not alliances.
The announcement by the Movement for a Peaceful Society (MSP), to leave the so-called presidential alliance comes ahead of April legislative elections. The MSP’s decision to enter the opposition should allow it to try to capitalize on the wave of Islamist victories in other Arab countries, although it is unclear how well the party can prosper after years inside the power structure.
The party had already reached out to Algeria’s Islamist ranks ahead of the elections, and differences with its partners, the powerful National Liberation Front and the National Democratic Rally, were well known.
The decision to leave the governing coalition, which it joined in 2004, was announced at the end of a gathering of the party’s Consultative Council focused on the upcoming elections and the party’s role in the alliance behind President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. MSP leader Abou Djara Soltani put the accent on disagreement over how to implement an array of reforms announced April 15 by Bouteflika to placate the restless Algerian population as uprisings now known as the Arab Spring have toppled leaders of other Arab nations.
He accused coalition partners of “emptying the political reforms of their substance in the name of partisan interests” rather than ensuring reforms worked in the interest of the people. The year 2012, Soltani said, will be “the year of political competition ... and not that of the alliance,” synonymous with “political mediocrity which serves neither the country nor its citizens.” Islamic party nearly won the nation’s first multiparty elections in 1991 aborted by the army to stop a likely victory.