In Algeria, a popular protest movement is seeking to derail the country’s elections. In the largest country in Africa and the Arab World, demonstrations will be taking place from 8th December through to 13th December in an effort to disrupt a poll called by the government for the 12th. The pro-democracy movement, known as the Hirak, charges that the planned vote is a sham concocted by a corrupt political elite to neutralise their calls for a transition to a genuine democratic system in the country.

The Hirak began holding massive street demonstrations in February in opposition to the announcement that then President Abdelaziz Bouteflika would seek re-election. Bouteflika had been incapacitated since suffering from a stroke in 2013.  In April, the demonstrators gained a significant concession from their government when the 82 year old Bouteflika, who had been in power for 20 years, resigned.

However, while Bouteflika stepped aside, this has not led to regime change. Instead, the military, led by chief of staff General Ahmed Gaid Salah, continues to maintain control of the transitional government, nominally headed by President Abdelkader Bensalah.