Algerian Parliament Speaker to Asharq Al-Awsat: Bouteflika Himself Has to Ask Me to Resign

Algerian Parliament Speaker to Asharq Al-Awsat: Bouteflika Himself Has to Ask Me to Resign

Tuesday, 2 October, 2018 - 08:15
Algerians walk past a portrait of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in the capital Algiers.
Algiers - Boualem Goumrassa
Algerian parliament Speaker Saeed Bouhaja has so far refused to comply with the demand of majority of lawmakers, who had called on him to resign.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that he had received for the second time in two days the heads of five parliamentary blocs that are loyal to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. They discussed their demand for his resignation, which they said is linked to his mismanagement of the People's National Assembly.

The Assembly is the parliament’s first chamber and source of legislation in the country.

Bouhaja said that his opponents handed him a letter in which they announced that they had withdrawn their confidence in him.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the laws that bind the government and parliament and the internal system of the parliament include no articles about withdrawing confidence.

“This is why I rejected their request to step down,” he stressed.

“I informed them that I must be convinced that I committed major errors in order to resign or I should receive a message or telephone call from the president himself to step down,” he added.

Strong signs indicate that circles close to the presidency do not want Bouhaja to remain in his post, a position he has been occupying since May 2017.

The speaker has been criticized for sacking the secretary general of the People's National Assembly without resorting to the majority of the lawmakers.

His critics claimed that he was wasting parliament’s funds and making several trips abroad. He is also accused of appointing people in important positions in parliament based on his personal relations with them.

Bouhaja strongly denies these accusations, saying instead that his “strict management of affairs is a cause of concern for some lawmakers and this is why they are plotting this conspiracy.”

“If the presidency does not want me, then why does it not inform me so directly?” he asked.

“The truth is that Bouteflika does not want to see me go,” he stated.

“At any rate, I will resign because I cannot be a cause for the obstruction of the work of parliament, but I must first be presented with valid excuses,” he remarked.

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