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Algeria Army Chief Says Elections Key to Ending Crisis

Algeria Army Chief Says Elections Key to Ending Crisis

Monday, 20 May, 2019 - 19:00
People take part in a protest demanding immediate political change in Algiers, Algeria, March 12, 2019. (AP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Algerian chief of staff Ahmed Gaed Salah stressed on Monday that elections were the best way to resolve the country’s political crisis.

"Holding a presidential election could help (Algeria) avoid falling into the trap of a constitutional void, with its accompanying dangers and unwelcome consequences," he said in a speech, the text of which was seen by AFP.

Emphasizing "the need to accelerate the establishment of an independent body to organize and oversee the elections", he said holding the poll would "stop those who are trying to prolong this crisis".

After two decades in power, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika quit last month under pressure from protesters and the army, but demonstrations are still pushing for political reforms and the removal of all officials belonging to the old guard.

A presidential election has been scheduled for July 4, but a source said on Friday it might be postponed, said Reuters.

Algeria has been shaken by protests, mostly by young Algerians, demanding to end the dominance of the elite that has been in charge since independence from France in 1962.

On Friday, protesters gathered again in Algiers to call for the resignations of the interim president, Abdelkader Bensalah, and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, appointed by Bouteflika days before he stepped down.

Protest leaders say the North African country's existing institutions -- and personalities -- are too tarnished by corruption to guarantee a legitimate vote, but the military has insisted the election go ahead as required by the constitution.

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