The Paradox of Economic Liberalization and Democratization in Algeria
By Huseyin Isiksal
Algeria always has a special status within the Arab World and the Middle East. Algeria's War of Independence that last eight years was the first and only war within the Arab World that had won on the battlefield against an European colonial power. Followingly, Algeria received deep respect as being one of the founding and leading countries of "non-aligned" movement under the cruel competition of the Eastern vs. Western blocks. Most recently, Algeria deserved distinguished emphasize through the first democratically held general elections in the Arab World in December 1991.
In this article, I would focus on economic and political liberalization measures that introduced to Algerian society in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Simply it would be argued that economic liberalization measures constitute fundamental and foundational clash with traditional political establishment and prevailing policies of the Algerian government since traditional political establishment and prevailing policies of the Algerian government since the independence.
It is worth stressing that the parameters of this paper not allow to fully analyze the reasons of the break down of civil peace in Algeria in the early 1990s, neither the long surviving debate concerning the compatibility of Islam and democracy. Instead my main focus and concern would be restricted with the paradox between economic liberalization and democratization measures in Algeria.
In order to successfully complete this endevour, this article has been divided into three main parts that each retains analytical cogency and descriptive relevancy. In other words, an evolutionary approach followed in this research for the sake of the analysis. Initially, I believe that an analysis of the paradox of economic liberalization and democratic measures requires historical background. Therefore in the first section, I will explore and underline the founding socio-economic and political principles of the Algerian government along with people's expectations from the state and consolidation of socio-economic values in the post independence period. In the following section, I will focus on Western reservation against the Islamist party the FIS (Front of Islamic Salvation) and how this reservation accounted in the paradox of economic liberalization and democratization measures in Algeria. In the final section, in the light of the arguments that had carried from the earlier sections, I will try to highlight the controversial regulation of economic liberalization measures under traditional authoritarian rule of the FLN.
Full Text (PDF, 16 pages, 162.1 KB)