RCD (Rally for Culture and Democracy)

Algerian Berber and secular political party born of the « Berber Cultural Movement ». Founded in February 1989 by Saïd Sadi – a human rights activist who has been pursued for this activity – two weeks before the referendum on the new constitution authorising a multi-party system. Because of this, some people suspected the RCD was sponsored by the government to weaken the FFS which was about to be legalised once again.

In the June 1990 municipal elections, boycotted by the FFS whose order was, to a large extent, obeyed, the RCD focused on the demands of the Berbers and took control of most localities in the Kabyle region without any difficulty. In December 1991 however, during the first round of parliamentary elections, it did not win a single seat while the FFS, which took part in the elections this time around, won 25 seats.

A secular, anti-Islamic party, the RCD was in favour of discontinuing the electoral process in January 1992. Saïd Sadi even took part in the presidential election of November 1995. Since then the RCD has remained distant from the military power. It condemned the November 1996 constitutional change which highlights « Arab-Islamic values » (Islam becomes « the State religion », Arabic the only official language) and is planning to outlaw political parties founded on religious, linguistic, associative or regionalist values. A law on political parties was voted in this respect in February 1997. The RCD participated in the legislative elections of 5 June 1997.

It is opposed to any dialogue with the FIS and because of this it did not take part in meetings of opposition parties (which brought together the dissolved FIS and the FFS) in Sant’ Egidio in November 1994 and January 1995. Neither did it sign the November 1996 « Appeal for Peace » (see « FFS » and « FIS »).

The RCD announced it will not put any candidate in the presidential elections of April 1999 arguing that the State cannot be trusted to organize free elections. RCD leaders called for « an active boycott » of these elections.

When President Bouteflika presented to Parliament his « National Harmony Law » providing mainly for an amnesty for members and supporters of the AIS (Salvation Islamic Army, the armed branch of the FIS), the RCD boycotted the vote without being able to affect the adoption of the law by an overwhelming majority in both houses.