Algeria dismantles cabinet, appoints caretaker government
Algeria’s president has decided to relieve many ministers of their duties in the cabinet while appointing a caretaker government led by Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui.
Algeria’s state television reported on Sunday that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had carried out a new cabinet reshuffle while announcing that Bedoui, who only recently replaced former premier Ahmed Ouyahia, would lead a caretaker government.
The announcement comes after weeks of street protests which forced Bouteflika to announce on March 11 that he would not run for president for a fifth term. Protesters insist Bouteflika’s announcement is not enough and he should resign after 20 years in office.
In the new reshuffle, the second in less than a month, Bouteflika kept his title as defense minister while appointing Sabri Boukadoum as foreign minister. He also appointed central bank governor Mohamed Loukal as finance minister and Mohamed Arkab as energy minister.
The appointment of the caretaker government also came hours after the United Nations said it wants democratic transition in Algeria
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was in an Arab League summit in neighboring Tunisia on Sunday, said that efforts towards a peaceful and democratic transition in Algeria should be made in a way “that addresses the concerns of the Algerian people in a timely way”.
Calls for Bouteflika’s resignation gained a new momentum on Saturday after Algeria’s army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah, opened up the possibility of a managed exit for the ailing president, saying the Constitutional Council should rule whether the 82-year-old is fit to rule.
There were also reports on Sunday suggesting several close allies of Bouteflika, including some members of the ruling FLN party and union leaders, had abandoned him. The Reuters news agency cited a source close to Ali Haddad, who was part of Bouteflika’s inner circle, as saying that the leading Algerian businessman, who helped fund Bouteflika’s election campaigns over the years, had been arrested at the Tunisian border early on Sunday.