Newly sworn-in interim Algerian President Abdelkader Bensalah at the Parliament in Algiers on Tuesday.
Newly sworn-in interim Algerian President Abdelkader Bensalah at the Parliament in Algiers on Tuesday.

Algeria Parliament confirms Abdelkader Bensalah as new interim president, protesters reject decision

ANI | Updated: Apr 10, 2019 04:34 IST

Algiers [Algeria], Apr 10 (ANI): The Algerian Parliament on Tuesday (local time) confirmed upper house Speaker Abdelkader Bensalah as the interim president of the country, even as thousands of protesters expressed disappointment with the appointment of the 76-year-old key aide of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who stepped down from the post earlier this month after week-long demonstrations.
The agitators, mostly students, chanted "out with the system", in protest against Bensalah's appointment as acting head of state for 90 days. They expressed disappointment with the move as Bensalah is a part of the ruling dispensation they have been seeking to remove in the last few months, Al Jazeera reported.
Police responded by firing tear gas, water cannons and used pepper spray and batons in a bid to dispel the crowd.
Although Bensalah's appointment is in accordance with the Algerian Constitution, the demonstrators are unhappy with the move as the 76-year-old is a seasoned establishment insider, besides having close links to Bouteflika.
According to the process, the interim president has to conduct the elections within 90 days and cannot legally contest in the polls.
Notably, Bensalah, who was confirmed to the post by the Algerian Parliament, does not have any backing of the opposition parties, which abstained from voting during the session.
In a televised speech, Bensalah vowed to hold free and fair polls within 90 days of his tenure and expressed hope that a new president elected to power would be committed to building a "new Algeria".
He also announced plans to create a sovereign body on an urgent basis, with the help of politicians and electorate, in order to lay down the required conditions for "honest and transparent" elections.
On April 2, Bouteflika resigned as Algeria's president before his mandate was to end on April 28, after remaining in power for about 20 years.
This came after a press statement issued by Bouteflika's office had said that the president will take steps to ensure "state institutions continue to function during the transition period", adding, his "resignation would occur before April 28, 2019".
The statement further noted that Bouteflika would "take important measures to ensure the continuity of the functioning of the state institutions during the period of transition."
Algeria has been witnessing protests since February against Bouteflika following his announcement that he was keen on contesting for a fifth term. However, he later gave in to the protesters' demands and abandoned his re-election bid.
Bouteflika had also delayed the presidential election indefinitely, originally scheduled to take place on April 18, and stated that he would only step down after a new Constitution was passed.
Protests continued over Bouteflika's continued hold of power, after which the 82-year-old ailing leader decided to step down from the post, thereby succumbing to public pressure. He rarely made public appearances since suffering a stroke in 2013. (ANI)

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