TUNIS — As protests in Algeria inch toward their 14th Friday, paralyzing city centers and all but engulfing the country’s political agenda, the presidential elections scheduled for July 4 have begun to grow increasingly unlikely. Quoting an anonymous source said to be familiar with the matter, Reuters has reported that logistical difficulties as well as the scale of the popular movement could push balloting to the end of 2019.
The prospect of deferring the election until later in the year presents Algeria’s popular movement with a crucial test. On the one hand, it provides the country’s entrenched power networks, the “pouvoir,” a temporary stay from the execution the protests are threatening. On the other, it would give protesters time to possibly agree on an agenda and candidates, but while risking schisms inherent in such a move. A delay would also prolong the economic stagnation that has denied many among the predominantly youth-led movement the futures for which their state-funded university educations equipped them.