World

Algeria appoints new PM after months of delay

Abdelaziz Bouteflika (left) plays table soccer with Abdelmalek Sellal (right) at a leisure centre in Adrar, in south Algeria in this February 6, 2004, file photo. — Reuters pic Abdelaziz Bouteflika (left) plays table soccer with Abdelmalek Sellal (right) at a leisure centre in Adrar, in south Algeria in this February 6, 2004, file photo. — Reuters pic ALGIERS, Sept 4 — Algeria’s president named Abdelmalek Sellal as the country’s new prime minister yesterday, ending some political uncertainty almost four months after parliamentary elections.

A new government was expected to be appointed immediately after the May 10 poll, but a clash among decision makers delayed the decision.

According to convention, Ahmed Ouyahia should have stepped down as prime minister following the poll, after which President Abdelaziz Bouteflika should have either invited Ouyahia back, or named a new person for the job.

None of this has happened, and the delay in naming a new prime minister and government paralysed Algerian politics.

An official statement said 75-year-old Bouteflika had “put an end to the functions of prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia, who has presented the resignation of the government”.

Sellal, a technocrat who does not belong to any political party, was previously water resources minister and served for more than a decade as minister for various other departments.

He was Bouteflika’s campaign director for the 2004 presidential election.

The names of the other ministers in the new government will be announced later today, a senior government official said.

Algeria is an important energy supplier for Europe, and a US ally in its fight against al Qaeda in the region.

The conservative National Liberation Front, the party which has ruled Algeria for 50 years, dominated the polls on May 10. — Reuters

 

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