Politics & Economics

Algeria: Protest movement ongoing against Bouteflika loyalists

North Africa

A new interim President, Abdel Kader ben Saleh, has been appointed to lead the transitional government in Algeria following Bouteflika's resignation amid continued protests.

Following the resignation of former President of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the Algerian people demanded the resignation of what they called “the three B’s” of the old regime: Abdelkader Bensaleh, the Speaker of Parliament; Tayeb Belaiz, the Chairman of the Constitutional Council; and Noureddine Badawi, the head of the caretaker Government. As a result, upon the Algerian Parliament’s decision to inaugurate Bensaleh to full the presidential vacancy, Algerians took to the streets demanding the removal of the entire regime.

In response to the protests, Ben Saleh, who has been the Speaker of Parliament for the past 16 years, said that he will not be holding the presidency position for long and that his interim term is needed due to constitutional requirements.

“The constitutional duty in this particular circumstance is [for me] to take responsibility,” said Abdel Kader Bensaleh during a speech he gave upon taking office.

Despite Bensaleh’s attempts to calm the citizens saying that the interim period will only last 90 days, Algerians have said that they are tired of the corrupt ruling class and thus demand the removal of all Bouteflika loyalists.

Furthermore, opposition parties have protested Bensaleh’s interim presidency saying that the current government is not responding to the people’s demands and is inaugurating those who the people have outright rejected.

Thus the people and the opposition parties have come hand-in-hand demanding a change, and not merely a rotation of positions.

While the Algerian military has not yet made any announcements regarding their support or lack thereof of Bensaleh leading the transitional period, Algerians say that their army has stood with the Algerian people throughout the protests, and are expected to continue this position.

While the current situation is yet unclear in the country, it seems that Algerians have been able to peacefully and successfully overthrow the Bouteflika regime, which ruled the country for over 20 years.