In a bid to stave of unrest, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria’s president, said the country’s 19-year state of emergency will be lifted in the “very near future”, state media has quoted.
On Thursday, during a meeting with ministers, the president also said that state-controlled Algerian television and radio should give airtime to all political parties.
Bouteflika also added that protest marches, which are banned under the state of emergency, would be permitted across the country, but not in the capital.
Those comments from the president of the country of 35 million come while anti-government protests escalate in Egypt, following a wave of similar uprisings in other Arab states including Tunisia and Yemen.
In Algeria, ahead of a protest planned for February 12, opposition groups had recently made the repeal of emergency powers one of their principal demands.
Several hundred pro-democracy protesters took to the streets in the country’s capital Algiers last month, demanding the government to overturn a law banning public gatherings.
All this started with riots over rising food costs and unemployment.
Learning from Egypt
Also on Thursday, Bouteflika said his government should adopt new measures in order to promote job creation in the former French colony.
Political analyst from Harvard University, Tarek Masoud, told Al Jazeera : “I think others who are maybe in similar positions to Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, are learning from this experience and perhaps the counter-productive thing to do is to crack down on protests.”
In Algeria brutal 1990s conflict with Islamist fighters left tens of thousands of people dead and lead to the enforcement of the state of emergency.
At the time, the government had said that it needed the extra powers in order to fight groups linked to al Qaeda.
However Bouteflika said on Thursday that he “ordered the government to immediately draw up appropriate provisions which will allow the state to continue the fight against terrorism until its conclusion, with the same effectiveness”.