Algeria’s parliament to elect new interim president

Mass protests forced veteran ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign after 20 years

Thousands of demonstrators  rally in Algiers on  Friday after their movement forced out longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Photograph: Toufik Doudou/AP Photo

Thousands of demonstrators rally in Algiers on Friday after their movement forced out longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Photograph: Toufik Doudou/AP Photo

 

Algeria’s parliament on Tuesday will elect a new interim president, state news agency APS said at the weekend, after veteran ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned following mass protests.

Mr Bouteflika ended 20 years in power on Tuesday after a final nudge by the military, following six weeks of protests calling for democratic reforms after almost 60 years of monolithic rule by veterans of the 1954-62 independence war against France.

Under the constitution, both chambers of the assembly need to formally confirm the vacancy of the presidency and elect an upper house president to run the country on an interim basis for three months until elections.

The current upper house chairman Abdelkader Bensalah stands to become interim president as of now.

But he, like prime minister Nouredine Bedoui and Tayeb Belaiz, head of a Constitutional Council who had formally received Mr Bouteflika’s resignation, are facing pressure from protesters to quit as they are seen as close to the establishment.

Inner circle

Demonstrators want a completely new political landscape and they see the three as part of an old guard which helped keep Mr Bouteflika in power for 20 years.

In the weeks before Mr Bouteflika’s resignation, his inner circle was depleted by the resignation of several of his close allies from influential positions in politics and business.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding radical change marched through Algiers for a seventh successive Friday, as Algeria’s spy chief was reportedly fired in a further sign of high-level turbulence after the veteran president resigned.

The demonstrators are pushing for the removal of what they see as an outdated and opaque political apparatus, built around the ruling party, army officers, businessmen, unions and veterans of a 1954-62 independence war against France.