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News > World

Algeria: New Gov't Talks Begin as Anti-Bouteflika Protests Continue

  • People carry their national flags as they protest against President Bouteflika in Algiers, Algeria, March 15, 2019.

    People carry their national flags as they protest against President Bouteflika in Algiers, Algeria, March 15, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 March 2019

Protesting Algerians say they distrust promises made by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika administration.

In Algiers, the capital of Algeria, thousands of students, teachers and doctors, who overflowed the streets surrounding the Grand Post Plaza, showed their rejection to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika plan to an "orderly transition."

Pressure Mounts on Algeria's Bouteflika as Allies Turn on Him Amid Fresh Protests

"We are here to demand the end of this system," Ali Harfush, Physics Professor at the University of Algiers, said and added that “since things do not change, we will remain on the street peacefully as long as necessary. If those in power love our country as they say, they would make quick decisions."

In a similar tone, a student stated that Bouteflika's resignation, the postponement of the April  presidential elections and the transition plan are only political maneuvers to placate Algerians.

"We have mobilized to express our rejection of what is actually a prolongation of [Bouteflika's] fourth mandate," the University of Algiers student said and added that "No means No. They must leave power."

“Algeria: the population continues to demand freedom, democracy and justice while the power violates the Constitution and wants at all costs to maintain the current system of predation. Solidarity with this great democratic movement. The sign reads: You prolong the mandate, we prolong the fight.”

Most of the country’s unions, who also joined the demonstrations against the transition plan, refused to meet with the new Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui or to participate in consultations for the formation of a "concerted government."

The invitation to participate was extended by Bedaoui and the new Deputy Prime Minister Ramtam Lamamra with the aim that the new Executive would lack political affiliation and significantly reflect the demographic characteristics of Algerian society.

"We have rejected the offer due to its lack of clarity," Mezian Merian, coordinator of the National Autonomous Union of Secondary Education Teachers (SNAPEST), argued and added that "we are in a difficult political situation, and in order to avoid misunderstandings, transparency is more than necessary."

An Algerian woman holding a sign that reads: “I march, you march, he marches, we march, you march, he steps down.”

The formation of a concerted government is the basis of the Bouteflika administration plan, which includes the convening of an inclusive National Conference that must prepare new presidential elections.

In that sense, Lamamra said the opposition will soon be able to get involved in the Algerian political process through elections, in which, for the first time in the country's history, everyone will participate and there will be an independent electoral commission.

"The Algerian opposition will be able to participate actively in governmental activities," Lamamra vowed, adding that Buteflika "is prepared to transfer his powers to the new elected president."

Meanwhile, Algeria’s state agency APS said Sunday that the newly-appointed prime minister has started talks to form a new government whichw ould see the formation of a new cabinet that will include experts without political affiliation and will “reflect the demographics of the Algerian society”, APS said. 

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