Abderrazak Makri is the leader and president of Algeria’s largest legal Islamist party, the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Harakat al Mujtama As-Silm (Hamas)—or in English, the Movement of Society for Peace (MSP).Carlotta Gall, “Who Runs Algeria? Many Doubt It’s Ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika,” New York Times, December 23, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/24/world/africa/suspicions-mount-that-ailing-president-abdelaziz-bouteflika-is-no-longer-running-algeria.html;
Michael J. Willis, Politics and Power in the Maghreb: Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco from Independence to the Arab Spring (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 189; Kaci Racelma, “Algeria’s Islamists Seek to Form a Political Union,” Al-Monitor, April 29, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/algeria-islamist-parties-seek-political-alliance.html. A founding member of the MSP when it was launched as “MSI” in 1990, Makri served as a member of Algerian parliament for ten years between 1997 and 2007.“Dr. Abderrazak MAKRI,” Mouvement de la Société pour la Paix, accessed November 10, 2016, http://hmsalgeria.net/fr/docteur-abderrazak-makri/. In 2013, Makri succeeded pro-government Bouguerra Soltani as leader of the MSP. Since then, Makri has increasingly distanced his party from the Algerian government, reestablishing the MSP as a serious opposition party.Dalia Ghanem Yazbeck, “The Future of Algeria’s Main Islamist Party,” Carnegie Middle East Center, April 14, 2015, http://carnegie-mec.org/publications/?fa=59769.
In 2014, Makri led the MSP and other Islamist parties in boycotting Algeria’s presidential elections.Lamine Chikhi, “Algerian Opposition Parties Urge Election Boycott,” Reuters, February 25, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-algeria-election-idUSBREA1O0IU20140225. Makri also led the MSP in boycotting the 2016 constitutional process, claiming that “this constitution, which is neither consensual nor having the potential for great reforms, expresses only the views of the president and his entourage.”Adlène Meddi, “Algeria’s New Constitution: the Illusion of Transparency,” Middle East Eye, January 13, 2016, http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/algerias-new-constitution-illusion-transparency-1405080738#sthash.DXYwDJVV.dpuf. In November 2016, however, Makri announced the MSP’s plans to participate in the 2017 parliamentary elections.Algerie Presse Service, “Algeria: Main Political Parties Participate in Upcoming Parliamentary Elections,” AllAfrica, November 7, 2016, http://allafrica.com/stories/201611071551.html. In January 2019, the MSP announced that Makri would serve as the party’s candidate in the April presidential elections. He later withdrew from the race after the incumbent president Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced he would run for a fifth term.“Algeria Islamists name Abderrazak Makri candidate for president,” AlJazeera, January 26, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/1/26/algeria-islamists-name-abderrazak-makri-candidate-for-president; “Algeria’s president runs for 5th term, promises key changes,” PBS, March 3, 2019, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/algerias-president-files-candidacy-papers-amid-protests.