Head of Algeria’s constitutional council Tayeb Belaiz, prime minister Noureddine Bedoui and Senate speaker Abdelkader Bensalah. File photo/AFP
Algerian lawmakers are set to confirm an interim replacement for Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Tuesday after the ailing president resigned last week in the face of massive protests.
The constitution stipulates that the speaker of the upper house of parliament — currently 77-year-old Abdelkader Bensalah — take the presidential reins for the next 90 days.
But with protesters demanding an overhaul of the political system, the interim leader’s identity may not be a foregone conclusion.
On Friday — in the first weekly protest since Bouteflika announced his departure after losing the military’s support — Algerians demanded regime stalwarts be excluded from the political transition.
Three men in particular have drawn ire: Bensalah, head of the constitutional council Tayeb Belaiz and prime minister Noureddine Bedoui.
Protesters’ views appear to have registered with the regime.
An editorial in pro-government daily El Moudjahid on Sunday suggested Bensalah be relieved of his duties as upper house speaker, so as to preclude him from becoming interim president.
It suggested finding a “consensus” candidate acceptable to both the state and the people.
But the regime mouthpiece did not come up with any names.
Army chief General Ahmed Gaid Salah insists Bouteflika’s succession must adhere strictly to the constitutional framework.
But the protesters “want it done outside the constitution,” said Rashid Grim, who teaches political science at the Higher Institute of Management and Planning in Algiers.
The protest movement is calling for a new transitional framework that is committed to deep reforms and organising free elections.
In the increasingly probable event of Bensalah’s withdrawal, his successor as upper house speaker would be in line to become interim president.
But Bensalah and “all other upper house members will be rejected by the streets,” Grim told AFP.
And if the speakership of the upper house is left vacant, the constitution stipulates the similarly unpalatable Belaiz becomes interim president.
“This is where there is a real problem,” Grim said.
“If the army doesn’t soften its position, we head towards a breakdown and difficulty in controlling the streets,” he warned.
Thousands of protesters gathered in central Algiers on Friday, piling pressure on President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika to resign days after the country's powerful military called for his removal.
Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika who has faced mass protests and pressure from the army demanding he end his 20-year rule, will resign before his mandate ends on April 28, state news agency APS said on Monday.
Algerian police tried but failed to disperse a tide of protesters marching through Algiers on Friday, despite the announcement of presidential elections to succeed ousted leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika. For the eighth Friday in a row, crowds flooded the Algerian capital’s main streets, although exact numbers remained hard to determine.
Under the theme “Emirati Women…Status and Empowerment”, the Al Khaleej Research Unit at Dar Al Khaleej for Press, Publishing and Advertising in Sharjah will hold at its headquarters the 19th edition of its annual conference on Saturday, April 27, 2019 in the presence of officials, dignitaries, academics and university students.
Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Head of the inauguration ceremony committee of the Sharjah World Book Capital (SWBC), has noted that the ‘1001 Nights: The Last Chapter’ show will take Sharjah’s cultural and humanitarian message to the world through an untold story of Scheherazade.
Parents who wish their children to fast during the Holy Month of Ramadan should first consult their paediatricians.