Tribal nervousness emerges to compensate for the decline in the influence of “political money” in the parliamentary elections in Algeria, where Article 200 of the new law stipulates that “the candidate should not be known to the public about his connection to the suspicious business and financial circles, and his influence, directly or indirectly, on the free choice of voters and the smooth conduct of the electoral process.” .
The elections scheduled for June 12 are witnessing great competition, with the entry of 1,438 lists representing parties and independents, with more than 15,000 candidates, scrambling to win the 407 seats in the House of Representatives. Read also Algeria.. How has the parliamentary map changed in 30 years?Why do Algeria’s liberals boycott the parliamentary elections and what impact do they have on participation?837 “Free” list is betting on the field.. Will the independents outperform the parties in the Algerian Parliament?Division in Algeria between supporters and opponents of participating in the upcoming parliamentary elections
The campaign featured clan meetings with the candidates from the tribe, accompanied by collective recommendations for them, and under the slogan, “The closest get the votes.”
A report by the French Ministry of War, dated January 23, 1851, documents the number of Algerian tribes at the time with 1,145 tribes of Berber, Arab and Andalusian origins, whose population today is expected to constitute tens of millions of Algeria’s population of about 44 million, even if their clan ties have weakened.
sultan of the tribe
The candidate for the Oum El Bouaghi governorate in eastern Algeria, Ali Jarman, says that the tribal affiliation in his constituency is “very critical,” as acceptance of the candidacy depends on the lists of parties, even the free ones, on the geographical distribution of candidates within the governorate first, then on the strength of the clans to which they belong. within each region.
Jarman acknowledges using him personally because of his tribal affiliation to pass the partisan candidacy and benefiting from it to gather supporters by supporting the notables of the tribe.
He assures Al Jazeera Net that luck is definitely in favor of any list that enters with several candidates from strong tribes, and “all fear in the event that two or more of the same clan are nominated on separate lists.”
At that time, Jarman adds, either the tribe, through a meeting with Jameh, adopts the candidate it supports at the expense of its other candidates, or the clan’s votes are divided among them, and the chance of winning the elections is lost, which has negative repercussions on its social cohesion.
Saad Sadara, an academic who hails from the province of Djelfa in central Algeria, believes that the tribe has a prominent influence on the results of the electoral process there, which makes it the first resort for the candidate to collect votes, whether within his clan or with the help of other clans.
Although the tribe is not the only decisive one, as he says, especially if its electoral size is limited, its political power remains strong over the candidates and the elections as a whole, and it is more prominent in the closed geographical scope.
In the southeast, political activist Ali Halawji says that tribal affiliation is supportive and influential in the elections without being decisive, meaning that whoever owns a party in another capacity, such as the party, his clan adds to it to guarantee his parliamentary seat.
For his part, Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Algiers, Noureddine Bakis, believes that the phenomenon of ethnic and regional clanism is still present and is felt even in the major Algerian cities, albeit at lower levels, as it strongly affects the parliamentary elections decades ago, and has not declined to the required extent.
He explained it with the fragility of state institutions and the dependence of the ruling elites on clientelistic relations, as rents are distributed to citizens according to their regional and ethnic affiliations, and according to their position within the primary group with which the authority deals, as happened with notables, supervision, and angles.
Bakis tells Al Jazeera Net, that the commitment to loyalty to traditional structures when choosing is due to the inevitable passage of their organizations when searching for social promotion and protection. Citizens of remote areas also interact with the center through those traditional structures based on primary affiliations, including ethnic and regional.
Accordingly, the association does not reflect a relationship of conviction and surrender, according to Bakis, but rather a reciprocal interest in which the citizen offers political loyalty in exchange for achieving forms of promotion and protection through these structures.
Bagis does not expect any regression to her job roles, as long as strong institutions that regulate the lives of individuals are not built, based on the legal system, and not according to client relations.
On the other hand, Professor of Political Science at the University of Algiers, Driss Attia, expects that the influence of the tribal factor will be weak this time compared to the past, but at the same time he believes that “the tribe remains a haven for some candidates who support the old style of political practice, who have not and will not understand the concepts of national democracy. and responsible civil society.
Attia points out to Al Jazeera Net that the general Algerians have a high level of awareness of an acceptable political culture, which promotes “moving away from tribal and clan ties in many provinces.”
Algeria is witnessing a societal dynamic that consolidates the upper loyalties linked to the nation-state project, according to Attia, rather than relying on subordinate loyalties, confined to the tribe or clan.
He added that the amended election law drew a new architecture by obligating voting on the open list instead of the closed list, which removed the monopoly and tribalism from the party and independent lists.
In his betting on the maturity of the Algerian voter and his alignment with his national, not tribal, interest, he mentions that 75% of the candidates are young people, and university students constitute 80% of them, and this is the biggest evidence, according to Attia, that the tribe and clan variable will be weak in the upcoming elections.