"To be baptized the Justice and Development Front." There's an ironic choice of words. If they have their way where freedom of conscience is concerned, that might be just about the only baptism in Algeria. "Algeria radical Islamist to create new party," from Agence France-Presse, November 26:
Former presidential candidate in Algeria and radical Islamist Abdallah Djaballah is set to create a new political party, Algeria's national radio said on Saturday. Djaballah announced on Friday the imminent creation of "national body" which would later form a party, to be baptised the Justice and Development Front.
The new party would base itself on "the culture of mutual aid and social justice" said Djaballah, who was beaten in presidential elections in 1999 and 2004 by current President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
He has already been at the helm of the Ennahda (Renaissance) Movement, which he formed in the early 1990s, and the National Reform Movement (MRN), both Islamist parties that he left after internal disagreements.
There was "no official response so far" to his application but the latest declarations from Algeria's Interior Minister Daho Ould Kabila were "encouraging", he said.
At the end of this month, Algeria's parliament is set to vote in a new law that would facilitate the creation of parties, one of a number of political and constitutional reforms President Abelaziz Bouteflika has promised before the end of January to strengthen democracy in Algeria.
Controversially though the law would ban ex-Islamic Salvation Front members -- whose electoral success in 1991 led to civil war -- from forming a party.
Dozens of potential new parties are awaiting authorisation to form once the law is approved.
Islamist parties, such as Tunisia's Ennahda which won a majority of seats in an October 23 election to form a new constituent assembly, have been winning more influence across North Africa since the "Arab Spring" revolutions.