Lawyer and activist of the first hour of the "hirak", Me Zoubida ASSOUL, president of the Union for Change and Progress (UCP) party, announced yesterday, Friday March 1, her candidacy for the next presidential elections in December 2024

Algeria, lawyer Zoubida Assoul, first candidate for the December 2024 presidential election

Zoubida Assoul
photo_camera Zoubida Assoul

As one of the founding members of the "Mouwatana" (citizenship) movement, created in June 2018, Zoubida is well aware of the danger lurking for any candidate who stands in the way of the path mapped out by the decision-makers behind the scenes.

But she's not one to give up. It's not for nothing that those close to her nickname her "Kahina", after the Berber queen-warrior. Her candidacy is, above all, a challenge to those decision-makers who impose their law and their will on an entire people whom they consider to be minor, in order to choose their front-line rulers.

Assoul hirak argelia

Born in the town of Tébessa in 1956, this Chaouia from the great Ouled Sidi Abid tribe, daughter of a religious scholar, Assoul Tebessi, launched her political career in May 1994 when she was chosen by the former head of the historic Wilaya IV, of the national liberation war, the late Youcef El-Khatib, to sit on the Conseil National de Transition (CNT), an ad-hoc institution replacing the parliament dissolved before the second round of legislative elections won by the Front Islamique du Salut.

Retired at the age of 41

Her entry into this institution introduced her to the arcanes of power and its intrigues. She became one of the fiercest opponents of the current system.

She declined invitations to join the RND and then the FLN. This refusal to join the two parties that have shared power for the last thirty years was enough to eject her from the spheres of a regime where she had no place.

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She lost her position as inspector at the Ministry of Justice, and retired at the age of ... 41. 

She fought the system on two fronts. Judicially, as a lawyer for human rights activists and Hirak militants ever since they began to face arbitrariness, injustice and repression.

Politically, as one of the first to oppose Bouteflika's government and one of the first figures of the hirak, long before its official birth in February 2019. 

She campaigns for the rule of law and a radical break with the current regime, as part of the "Mouwatana" movement, alongside Soufiane Djilali, president of the Jil Jadid (New Generation) party, who has rallied behind Abdelmadjid Tebboune's regime, since the latter's installation in the El-Mouradia presidential palace, Ahmed Benbitour, the short-lived Prime Minister (from December 23, 1999 to August 26, 2000) and Amira Bouraoui, whose flight from the country caused a stir in February 2023.

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As a repressive measure, her house was burnt down

Zoubida Assoul took part in the marches that preceded the "hirak" in Algiers, Beja√Įa, Constantine and other towns across the country. These marches brought together very few people.

But that didn't stop the powers that be from cracking down on her. Her house was set on fire. All her possessions, jewels, clothes and documents were burnt to the ground. But she did not give up, and continued her fight for the rule of law.

In the aborted presidential elections of April 2019, she lent her support to retired general Ali Ghediri. A general whose candidacy muddied the waters of the system, provoking deep divisions within the military establishment.

An institution he knows very well and knows all the details about its top brass, having been director of personnel and military justice for 15 years. To eliminate the danger he represents to the interests of the decision-makers behind the scenes, he was arrested on June 12, 2019.

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The following day, he was remanded to El-Harrach prison for his writings in the French-language daily El-Watan, deemed hostile to the army. He is serving a 6-year prison sentence, initially set at 4 years, but extended by two years a few days before his release on May 16, 2023.

As soon as Zoubida Assoul's candidacy was announced, questions were raised about the reaction of the authorities.

Knowing that they have nothing to reproach her for, as the woman is of irreproachable moral probity and unfailing political integrity, there is a strong fear of the low blows that would inevitably be dealt her by the decision-makers in the shadows, who spare no means.