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Algeria names new prime minister amid ongoing protests

Djerad was named prime minister on Saturday [Twitter]

Date of publication: 28 December, 2019

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Algeria named its new prime minister on Saturday, despite weeks of protests against its newly-elected president.
Algeria's president Abdelmadjid Tebboune named the country’s new prime minister, state TV reported on Saturday.

Abdelaziz Djerad, a former diplomat who teaches political science at the University of Algiers, was named as the North African country's new PM, just weeks after Tebboune was sworn in as president despite concerns over the "sham" elections.

Tebboune, who was prime minister of Algeria from May 2017 to August 2017 has a difficult road ahead of him, as protesters reject his presidency and accuse him, like Djerad, of coming from Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s cadre of corrupt officials.

The newly-elected president won a widely boycotted December 12 presidential election with 58.1 percent of the vote on a turnout of less than 40 percent, according to official results, in a poll dismissed by protesters as a ploy to consolidate their power.

Comment: Algerians, now's the time to finish what you started 

While Tebboune's period as prime minister ended with his sacking by Bouteflika, protesters see the longtime regime insider as part of the same corrupt system that has ruled Algeria since independence in 1962 - a system they want dismantled.

Tebboune, who has been in politics four decades and held several official positions in that time, as well as the other four candidates who had been running for the presidency, are widely shunned by protesters as “children of the regime.”

Following his election, Tebboune vowed to "extend my hand to the Hirak (protest movement) for a dialogue", appoint young ministers and push for a new constitution.

Although the protest movement remains peaceful, with minor scuffles reported between police and protesters in the Amazigh stronghold of Kabylie and the Belouizdad neighbourhood of Algiers, analysts fear that law enforcement will be more violent in quelling the protests now that a president has emerged.

Algeria is heavily dependent on oil exports and its budget has been hard hit by low crude prices, which could force Tebboune to take unpopular decisions.

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