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Algeria Army Chief: Some Parties Seeking Constitutional Void

Algeria Army Chief: Some Parties Seeking Constitutional Void

Tuesday, 18 June, 2019 - 17:45
Protesters in Algiers, Algeria. (Reuters file photo)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Algerian army chief of staff General Ahmed Gaed Salah stated on Tuesday that some parties were seeking a constitutional vacuum in order to prolong the country’s political crisis.

“Certain parties want to enter a dark tunnel called ‘constitutional vacuum’,” a defense ministry statement quoted Gaed Salah as saying at a military base in the southwestern province of Bechar.

“This means the destruction of the foundations of the Algerian national state.”

"Those who are knowingly trying to circumvent... terms of the constitution, do they realize what it means to suppress all state institutions?" he asked.

Veteran leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down as president on April 2 following two months of mass protests that demanded democratic reforms and the prosecution of people viewed by the demonstrators as corrupt.

But the demonstrations have continued, seeking the removal of the whole ruling elite that has governed the North African nation since independence from France in 1962.

Protesters are also now demanding the resignation of interim president Abdelkader Bensalah, a former head of the upper house of parliament, whom they see as a close ally of Bouteflika.

The authorities have postponed a presidential election previously planned for July 4 citing a lack of candidates. No new date for the vote has been set.

The army is now the main player in Algeria’s politics, and Gaed Salah has called for dialogue to prepare for elections and pave the way for a new president to start the reforms demanded by protesters.

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