Submitted by North Africa R… on Mon, 06/17/2019 - 21:10

07/06/2019-13/06/2019

Wide public demonstrations have restarted in earnest in Algeria, due to the announcement of further delays to the presidential election. In Mauritania, public polls have indicated that the opposition candidate Ould Boubacar is the most popular with voters.

As fighting continues in Libya, Italy has stepped up its advocacy support for the besieged Tripoli-government. Egypt has announced further casualties in its ongoing operations in North Sinai.

While Tunisia continues to struggle with the humanitarian consequences of the Libyan conflict, Morocco has announced a new national strategy to combat terror financing and money laundering.


Algeria

Thousands of Algerians returned to the streets to demonstrate against the news that presidential elections have again been postponed beyond 4 July, with no new date set (Al Monitor)[1]. The French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian indicated that France is “attentive” to Algeria, insofar as the “spirit” of the demonstrations can continue to “express itself freely” (TSA)[2].

Former figures in the regime continue to fall as both the president and deputy-general of the Supreme Court were dismissed from their posts (Middle East Monitor)[3]. Mahieddine Tahkout, a businessman and a former ally of Bouteflika, has also been indicted and placed in detention on suspicion of corruption (Le Figaro)[4].


Egypt

Egyptian officials announced that its forces killed another four militants in North Sinai province in ongoing clashes (Al Arabiya)[5]. Security sources have also claimed that a military court in Egypt sentenced around 300 to prison sentences under charges of conspiring, or attempting, to attack President al-Sisi (Eyewitness News)[6].

In unwelcome economic news, Egypt’s trade deficit hit 4.1 billion US dollars in March (Egypt Today)[7]. Additionally, the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Egyptian pound continues to fall in a downward trend at Egypt’s banks, suggesting the beginning of an economic downturn (Ahran Online)[8].


Libya

Fighting continues in Libya, with reports of an intensification of fighting in the south of Tripoli (Libya Observer)[9]. Libya’s State oil company, the Libyan National Oil Corporation, has expressed concern that there are different military presences in Libya’s oil facilities at Ras Lanuf, impacting production (Libya Express)[10].

The Tripoli-government has reached out to its ally of Italy, asking the country to put pressure internationally on countries in support of Khalifa Haftar in order to stop the current bombardment in the capital (Middle East Monitor)[11]. Italy has also pledged to provide 2 million Euros to UNICEF projects in Libya (ANSAmed)[12]. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council has also strengthened its international arms embargo upon Libya, extending its mandate until June 2020 (The North Africa Post)[13].


Mauritania

A poll on voting intentions has indicated that opposition candidate Ould Boubacar is in the lead with 51% of respondents indicating he is their preferred choice (L’Authentique)[14]. Meanwhile, the current government’s preferred choice, Ghazouani, has been discussing the problem of terrorism and development in eastern Mauritania (Sahara Medias)[15].

Other candidates have also been campaigning for the upcoming elections. Biram Dah Abeid, anti-slavery and human rights activist, has expressed a desire to promotes relations between the different ethnic groups in Mauritania (Le Point)[16]. Kane Hamidou Baba has focused on job opportunities for young people, and increasing women’s inclusion in the labor market (C.R.I.D.E.M.)[17]. And the candidate for the historic opposition, Mohamed Ould Maoloud, has made a speech to criticize the current administration (RFI)[18].


Morocco

Morocco has fallen 19 places in the Global Peace Index rankings, according to the annual report for the Institute for Economy and Peace, having fallen to 90th place in the world (Yabiladi)[19]. This comes as the Moroccan government announces a new national strategy aiming to combat money laundering and terrorist financing (2M)[20].

Morocco also met with Tunisian representatives in Geneva to boost economic cooperation, scientific research and cultural exchanges (Le360)[21]. In addition, the US has announced that Morocco, along with Egypt and Jordan, will participate in the upcoming Manama conference regarding the economic component of the US’s new peace plan for Israel and Palestine (H24 Info)[22].


Tunisia

The fighting in Libya continues to have severe consequences for southern Tunisia due to the influx of refugees fleeing the conflict (Reuters)[23]. This ongoing situation, is in addition to the news that dozens of migrants are still stuck on a vessel off the coast of Zarzis having been denied entry to Tunisia since last week (France Info)[24].

Regarding domestic politics, Machrou Tounes and the breakaway group of Nidaa Tounes led by Sofien Toubel, announced that they will have a common presidential candidate, ensuring that they will become the second largest Parliamentary majority in government (Jeune Afrique)[25]. And as for the upcoming elections, a poll by Sigma Conseil has suggested that the independent populist candidates Nabil Karoui and Kaïs Saïed are in the lead with voters (Jeune Afrique)[26].