Urgency of a strategic vision articulating the functions of the State, Local Authorities and the Market

The purpose of this contribution is to analyse the impact of the political parties on the mobilization of the population in the light of the results of the last legislative elections of May 4th, 2017 and to query their role on the scheduled local elections of November 23rd, 2017 (Part I). 

At the outset, I would take opportunity here to deplore, whilst sharing the concerns of the people, the obvious lack of a strategic vision of most of the candidates, some indulging in euphoric unrealizable goals speeches promising the moon whilst others with a vision of gloom criticizing everything. The Government, apparently as demobilized as ever thus demobilizing even more than ever, is confronting budgetary tensions, this urgent need of a forthcoming and irreversible globalization. It therefore has to better articulate the complementary functions of the role of the central state, the local authorities and of the market. The policies carried out in recent years must be reviewed, as the age of transfers of state budgets to alleviate the deficits of management of the local authorities or of public enterprises in structural deficits is over. Local businesses and communities need to look for and find their own sources of funding, because it is hard to see a divorce between speeches advocating a rationalization of budget choices, central and local management remains the footprint of a strong trend towards uncorrelated spending with economic and social impacts.

Reminder of the results of the last legislative elections

It is interesting to analyse the outcome of the legislative elections of May 4th, 2017 to get an idea of social mapping, including state-citizen relations and to take appropriate measures through an urgent reorientation of the policy Socio-economic. For these May 4, 2017 elections, we had 8,528,355 voters on 23,251,503 registered and that for applications, they stood at 938 lists of which 116 for political parties, 125 for alliances and 97 for the independents with 32.31% of women which makes a total of 11,315 candidates. The provisional results are as follows for the number of seats obtained by specifying that, in accordance with article 166 of the Organic Law on the above-mentioned electoral regime, any candidate in the legislative elections or political party who has participated in these Elections, has the right to challenge the regularity of the voting operations by introducing an appeal by simple request to file at the registry of the Constitutional Council within forty-eight hours following the proclamation of the results.  

According to the Ministry of the Interior data, the overall participation rate in these legislative elections of May 4, 2017 in the country and within the national community abroad was 37.09%. The zero ballots that were established at 2,098,324, represent 24.60% of the number of voters. Compared to the registrants, we have 9.02% so 28.07% who voted for the parties or independent, giving 71.93% of the registrants who do not trust the political class against 64.70% in 2012. Here we can draw three conclusions.

–       First, the E-participation rate is low to be taken into account in the calculations the actual population of voting age, thus of those who did not register. All the consequences must be drawn and above all to act to remedy the state-citizen divorce by the involvement of civil society.

The big problem is how to restore that confidence, which is why the urgency to review the functioning of both the political and economic system and the functioning of the parties system has become inefficient. Indeed, a considerable number of political formations have emerged, often without a real programme or serious prospects, which are mainly manifested on electoral appointments as a result of State subsidies. ?

–       Second, although having lost 57 seats the ruling FLN party remains the first political force in the Assembly followed by the RND with 29 seats, which both together had the absolute majority with 55.50%.

The third political force of the country consists of the Islamist formations with a total of 51 elected, almost 11% and 67 deputies if one includes TAJ, the fourth political force consisting of 28 deputies.

–       Third, it is a matter of reorganizing on a democratic basis the civil society avoiding the instrumentalization of the administration if we want to put in place these effective intermediary networks between the state and the citizen returning to a real Political decentralization and a change in the course of economic policy.

Hence the following proposals.

Local communities to local enterprise / citizens

The local authorities made of the 48 governorates of provinces (wilayas as labelled locally) and the 1,541 peoples’ commons assemblies (APC) must have other tasks than to confine themselves to wickets intended for the management of certain basic public services by relying mainly on the state budget allocations because of the rentier mentality inherited from the past, prevalent both at the central level and at the local community level is definitely over.

The reports prepared by the Department of the Ministry show a negative assessment of the dynamism of the local economy, with the taxes being insufficiently recovered, with certain assets being exploited without consideration and others diverted from their vocation. Local officials must in the future have a vision and visibility for the development of their communes, considering the specificities and potentialities of each and the aspirations of its citizens, the leaders of the provinces and the elected officials at the search for populist and personal interests. These reports indicate that the Governor (Walis) and presidents of the APCs have now limited themselves to the role of distributing the State’s generosity and to change for instance only the floor tiling of sidewalks and public squares. The recovery of local taxes, not being their priority, the local authorities having not steered the large funds allocated by the State towards the valorisation and the profitability of the multiple wealth available to them. For the efficient management of the spaces, it is a matter of drawing up a state of the premises. In the Algerian system, as recalled earlier, local authorities essentially consisted of entities assisted by a State which, in addition to its own prerogatives, intended to be the sole manager of the economy. Thus, local officials were therefore only executors of the policies and decisions adopted at the central level and which were translated at the communal level by carrying out the actions and programmes adopted in the arbitration session by the Central Organ Planning, under the annual plans and budget envelopes.

In addition to the very guidelines already entailed by the programmes allocated, the communes and Wilayas were under the close supervision of the central State via the Ministry of the Interior. The state practically took over all social policy and intervened very broadly in the management of land and town planning. Directives were thus given at a certain time to the Wilayas, for the transfer of land to be built and the entire housing policy was almost completely entrusted to the Wilayas. This situation has resulted in a deposition of the central authority disregarding the Walis, where it was the Walis with their local dependencies – the Dairas (local sub governorate) – APC who were directly confronted with the grumbling of the citizen, motivated by the needs of affordable housing, quality of life, employment, etc. The anarchy currently witnessed by the growth and the disorderly extensions of our cities, and the largest of them, can only be accentuated, if we continue to accept that the local authorities are still left to themselves to respond, under duress, to social demand in terms of space to be built. Because, an excessive centralization, promotes a modus operandi of authoritarian public affairs, a governance by decrees, i.e. a governance that is imposed by force and authority away from the real needs of the people.

Historical experiences clearly show that if centralization was necessary in a first phase, it quickly reached its limits and that it was the countries that developed real decentralization and not de-concentration, synchronizing central and local governance that have been the most successful in their development. The most decentralized country in the world is the United States of America and the Swiss cantons, the German landers, etc. are not far as well.  Reorganization of local seat of power, the basis of which is the APC, for a more participatory and citizen-based society is required to imagine other modes of management of the ministries and all the apparatus of the state. It is in this context that the local authorities must appear as a unifying element of all the initiatives involved in the improvement of the territorial space, to move from the stage of local community providences to that of local communities with enterprises and citizens responsible for the development and marketing of its territory. In a more general way, the establishment of a genuine decentralisation involving local actors, must result in a better real government felt as such by the population, the basic argument residing in the geographical proximity. This means that there is a local solution to local problem and that it is necessarily better than a national solution. The structure that I think is most appropriate to create this dynamism is the regional Chambers of Commerce organized regionally to cover all public / private enterprises, banks, vocational training centres, and Universities / research centers.

The action of the Chambers of Commerce, a place of concertation but above all a place for the impetus for the realization of projects such as:

Firstly, to energize the basic infrastructure and to prepare sites entrusted to real estate promotion agencies public and private;

Secondly, to make available to companies a skilled workforce thanks to an efficient and scalable training system ranging from engineers, managers and specialized technicians, thanks to the university poles and the centers of research. Example the Chamber of Commerce would offer a position for 10 candidates in training, with the 90% not retained as a loss for the region. Dynamic learning is a human capital for future companies that would settle in the region, an installed company paying taxes that will largely cover the capital advances of advanced training. This training must be adapted to consider the standard quality standard, the quality label being required for any exporter in the direction of Europe, America, Africa or Asia.

Thus, we would see a symbiosis between the university and the enterprises. Because these need access to researchers, laboratories for testing tests and the university needs enterprises as financial support and specially to improve research. The students thus live the dialectic between theory and practice;

The third action is to encourage flexible companies based on mobility and individual initiatives. Tests have shown that personal initiative, for some products, saves some equipment (thus to have less depreciation in the cost structure) and to pass the process of seven (7) minutes (420 seconds) to 45 Seconds is a time saving of more than 90% improving the productivity of the team’s work. What we call self-directed teams;

The fourth action, the Chamber of Commerce would intensify the exchange flows through different experiences between the regions of the country and the outside and the elaboration of regional forward-looking tables, Horizon 2016/2020/2030. Providing future investors with all the necessary amenities as well as various services (commercial network, leisure) is fundamental to this symbiosis between these different structures and certain segments of society Should lead to fundamental prospective analyses, to a dashboard of orientation of the future activities of the region, in order to facilitate the coming of investors.

To be continued . . .