Algeria names panel to oversee dialogue, hold presidential election

By Hamid Ould Ahmed ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian interim president Abdelkader Bensalah has set up a six-member panel to oversee a national dialogue and hold a presidential election aimed at ending months of political crisis, the presidency said on Thursday. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down on April 2 after 20 years in power, under pressure from mass protests demanding the removal of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people suspected of corruption.

Reuters July 26, 2019 03:09:40 IST
Algeria names panel to oversee dialogue, hold presidential election

Algeria names panel to oversee dialogue hold presidential election

By Hamid Ould Ahmed

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian interim president Abdelkader Bensalah has set up a six-member panel to oversee a national dialogue and hold a presidential election aimed at ending months of political crisis, the presidency said on Thursday.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down on April 2 after 20 years in power, under pressure from mass protests demanding the removal of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people suspected of corruption.

Authorities has cancelled a presidential election previously planned for July 4, citing a lack of candidates. No new date has been set.

The panel, led by former parliament speaker Karim Younes, also includes two experts in law, an economic expert and two politicians.

"The dialogue will cover all aspects related to the organisation of this election, its necessary conditions ... and the date of the election," the statement quoted Bensalah as telling the panel at a meeting on Thursday.

"The dialogue must be inclusive of the whole political class, national figures and civil society."

The army is now the main player in Algerian politics, and its chief of staff, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah, has repeatedly urged the opposition to cooperate in the holding of an election as soon as possible.

The panel will immediately start consultations with people willing to take part in the dialogue, the statement said.

"National dialogue remains the only way that can guarantee a peaceful outcome in line with what Algerians are expecting," Younes said. "We are aware of the national impasse in which we live."

In a bid to appease protesters, the judiciary has started corruption investigations involving several former senior officials.

Many prominent businessmen and ex-officials, including former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, have been placed in custody on charges including "dissipation of public funds".

Protesters are now demanding the departure of Bensalah, a former head of the upper house of parliament, and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, who are regarded by demonstrators as part of the old guard that has governed the North African country since independence from France in 1962.

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.