Lawmakers have confirmed the appointment of Abdelkader Bensalah as interim president of Algeria, despite calls from protesters to exclude regime stalwarts from the top post.
Algerian lawmakers on Tuesday named upper house speaker Abdelkader Bensalah as interim president, state television reported, following the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika in the face of mass protests.
Bouteflika, who had ruled for nearly two decades, handed in his official resignation last week.
The move by parliament follows constitutional rules but goes against the demands of demonstrators, who have pushed for Bensalah and other top politicians to stand down.
On Friday – in the first weekly protest since fromer president Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his departure after losing the military’s support – Algerians demanded regime stalwarts be excluded from the political transition.
Bensalah, alongside head of the constitutional council Tayeb Belaiz and prime minister Noureddine Bedoui have been the subject of significant criticism from protesters.
Prior to parliament’s announcement on Tuesday, however, public concerns seemed to have registered with the regime.
An editorial in pro-government daily El Moudjahid on Sunday suggested Bensalah would 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, however, insisted Bouteflika’s succession should adhere strictly to the constitutional framework.
Bensalah will act as Algeria’s interim leader for the next 90 days.