Emmanuel Macron's statements in a message of support for the Algerian president strongly irritated the Algerian opposition  

Strong criticism in Algeria against Emmanuel Macron 

PHOTO/REUTERS - PHOTO/REUTERS -Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune 

The first wave of COVID-19 had put an end to the demonstrations in Algeria; the second wave plunged the Algerian state into lethargy. 28 days after his admission to the military hospital in Aïn Naadja, near Algiers, and his evacuation to Germany on 28 October, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has yet to reappear in the public sphere. His last public appearance dates back to 15 October; for the time being his health is the biggest state secret.  

In an interview with the magazine Jeune Afrique, published on 20 November, the French president said: "I will do everything in my power to help President Tebboune during this period of transition. He is courageous (...) You do not change a country, institutions and power structures in a few months".  

French President Emmanuel Macron's commitment to "do everything" to help his counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune "so that the transition in Algeria is successful" was harshly criticised in the ranks of the opposition, which perceived it as "interference" in the country's affairs.  

Mr Macron believes he is authorised to distribute certificates of legitimacy to the leaders of the indigenous peoples that we are," condemned the Rassemblement pour la culture et la démocratie (RCD), one of the main secular opposition parties.  

PHOTO/AFP -Emmanuel Macron, presidente francés 

"There are also things that are not in our rules that we would like to see changed," said the French head of state, referring to the arrests of Hirak activists and the media situation criticised by Algerian and international NGOs. "I am never in the invective or the position of a speaker. Algeria is a great country. Africa cannot succeed without Algeria," he said. 

"In the case of Algeria, it authorises itself to issue a certificate of confidence to the head of state (...). This is not a simple interference, but the revelation that France is in charge of a roadmap for our country," the RCD party accused in a statement issued in Algiers.  

The political express Karim Tabou, president of the Democratic and Social Union (a non-legalised party) and a figure in the anti-regime protest movement (Hirak), goes further and describes France as "racist": "A France that does not want to accept that democratic forces, an emancipated youth, a youth capable of challenging underdevelopment can emerge in this country," the French-language daily El Watan quotes.  

As the main Islamist party, the Movement of the Society for Peace (MSP), for its part, has punished a France that is "withdrawing" from the international scene, which "is not ashamed to return to its old habits of interfering in the internal affairs of its former colonies".  

The Algerian press, for its part, is very critical of these declarations, which are stirring up old memories of a colonialist past. The Arab daily Echourouk also believes that the French president's remarks have rekindled "the controversy over French interference".   

"Paris weighs heavily on the regional space to which Algeria belongs (...). Sometimes this influence comes to confuse cooperation and interference," writes the French-speaking daily Liberté, which is close to the opposition. "Today, it delivers a pure extract of neo-colonial thought," laments Liberté columnist Mustapha Hammouche.  

By stating that "France has made many gestures" and that the important thing is to "carry out historical work and reconcile memories" instead of "apologising", Mr Macron has "put limits on the current process he has begun with his Algerian counterpart", analyses El Khabar.