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  • Algerian upper house chairman Abdelkader Bensalah is pictured after being appointed as interim president by Algeria's parliament.

    Algerian upper house chairman Abdelkader Bensalah is pictured after being appointed as interim president by Algeria's parliament. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 April 2019

Algeria’s parliament appointed Abdelkader Bensalah interim president after Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned following weeks of mass protests against him.

Algeria’s leader of Senate Abdelkader Bensalah will assume the role of interim president after  National People's Congress ratified the definitive vacancy of the post of president Tuesday.

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Algeria's Bouteflika Submits Resignation After 20 Years As President

The President of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was in power for 20 years, resigned on April 2 after months of protest against him.

The decision to appoint Bensalah as interim president was approved by the votes of the majority National Liberation Front (FLN) party, which is governing the country since 1962, and its ally National Democratic Regroup (RND).

Lawmakers from Socialist Forces Front (FFS) and the Workers' Party (PT) resigned just before the meeting of the parliament. Other political groups like Movement for the Society for Peace (MSP), the Algerian Front for Development, Freedom, and Justice (FADLJ) also boycotted the meeting.

Throughout his career, Bensalah has held several important positions in the Algerian State. In 1970, he was Director of the Algerian Center for Information and Culture in Beirut (Lebanon), a position he held for four years before directing the Arabic-language newspaper El Chaab until 1977.

He was also appointed as Ambassador of Algeria to Saudi Arabia and to the Organization of the Islamic Conference in 1989.

In 1993, he returned to Algeria to occupy the position of Information Director and Spokesperson of the Algerian Chancellery briefly. The same year he was appointed member and spokesperson of the National Dialogue Commission.  

Post that, he became the President of the National Transitional Council, a single-chamber legislative body whose functions were limited to three years (from 1994 to 1997), created by the National Consensus Conference on Jan. 24, 1994, in the context of the Algerian civil war known as the "black decade."

In 1997, Bensalah was appointed President of the National People's Assembly, a position he held until 2002.

In November 2004, Bensalah was elected in plenary session as President of the African Parliamentary Union. In 2002, he became the President of the Council of the Nation. He was re-elected in 2013 and in 2019.

Bensalah will be working as the head of the state for the next three months during which he must call for new presidential elections.  

“We must work to allow the Algerian people to elect their president as soon as possible,” Bensalah told parliament.

Protests are still going on even after Besalah’s appointment due to his closeness to Bouteflika and the government.

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