Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Algeria's Former PM: No One Chose Me to Succeed Bedoui

Algeria's Former PM: No One Chose Me to Succeed Bedoui

Monday, 20 May, 2019 - 09:45
An electoral commission worker gives out ballot paper to a voter in the presidential elections at a polling station in Algiers on April 17, 2014. ( AFP)
Algiers - Boualem Goumrassa
Former Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Benbitour denied reports claiming that the army chose him to succeed Noureddine Bedoui as prime minister, meanwhile the Interior Ministry stopped issuing candidacy forms for the presidential elections scheduled for July 4.

Benbitour told Asharq Al-Awsat that friends and journalists called him to inquire about the candidacy news which circulated through online platforms. He asserted that it was a rumor and that no one in the army discussed with him the issue, adding that even if happened, he would not accept it.

“As I said before, I have a vision or a roadmap to get out of the current impasse,” said Benbitour without going into details of his plan.

Several names were put forward for the transitional period as successors of President Abdelkader Bensalah and the Prime Minister, who were “remnants” of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's regime.

Former Information and Diplomatic Minister Abdelaziz Rahabi refused to have any role unless it is a project that achieves the democratic transition.

Former Foreign Minister Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi called the army leadership for “an open and honest dialogue with representatives of the movement, parties and social forces.”

Lawyer and political activist Mustafa Bushashi asserted that he does not see himself other than being a lawyer, but he hinted that if the country needed him, he will be ready to help.

It is understood from Bushashi’s words that he would not reject a potential request from the de facto authority, the army, to lead the country in the transition period.

The movement activists are expected to agree on names for a forthcoming dialogue with the authority to prepare for the next stage and organize the elections.

Of the 100 people who took the candidacy forms from the Interior Ministry, only one person is publicly known, head of the Future Front and 2014 presidential candidate, Abdelaziz Belaid.

In practice, the army's leadership, which adheres to the constitutional solution, cannot organize a ballot that is not credible. On the other hand, it does not want to intervene directly and be forced to cancel it with military order, thus confirming the notion that it is in control of the country.

The army will most likely leave Bensalah to complete his term, which according to the constitution, ends on July 9, 3 months after the President’s resignation. The country, will then, face an institutional vacuum.

With that, the military institution has tried the constitutional solution and it didn’t work out, forcing it to resort to political solutions, suggested by opposition leaders, which constitutes of reaching consensus on a person, or a group of persons, to lead the country for two years. During this period a referendum on a new constitution will be organized and the electoral law will be amended.

Nominations for a new presidency will then open by an independent committee.

The army could have cut the corners instead of postponing the desired democratic transition for three months, according to observers.

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