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Algeria: Army Leadership Categorically Rejects 'Transition Period'

Algeria: Army Leadership Categorically Rejects 'Transition Period'

Thursday, 9 May, 2019 - 07:15
People carry national flags during a protest seeking the departure of the ruling elite, as the country prepares for presidential election in Algiers, Algeria April 12, 2019. (Reuters)
Algiers - Boualem Goumrassa

The Algerian army leadership rejected launching a transitional phase and strongly attacked prominent activists, politicians and party leaders for their positions on the speeches of Army Chief of Staff Major General Gaid Salah, who refused to meet the demands of millions of demonstrators to remove interim president Abdelkader Ben Salah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui.

In its May issue, the Army Magazine reported serious accusations against the figures for writing about Gaid Salah's abuse of the political crisis. The magazine spoke of a “malicious scheme” being plotted by certain figures that used the media and social media to implement suspicious agendas aimed at spreading rumors and inaccuracies.

The magazine did not explicitly indicate who was meant by the article, but it can be understood that it is referring to political figures, most notably former Prime Minister Mouloud Hamrouche, former head of Laique Party Said Sadi, 2014 presidential candidate Louisa Hanoune, and lawyer and activist Muqrin Ait al-Arabi.

These figures heavily commented on the Army Chief’s statements regarding corruption and the constitutional solution that he wants to implement to overcome the political crisis.

Most of them asked the army to meet the demands of the movement, and called on General Salah to “stop interfering in political affairs” accusing him of pressing the judiciary to open certain corruption cases, aiming to settle the scores with previous figures in former regime of Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The magazine’s editorial stated there were desperate and malicious attempts to target the strong relationship between the people and the army, and undermine the trust that binds them.

The Army magazine condemned providing those figures with platforms whether in newspapers or private TV channels to comment on events and Salah’s interventions in politics and judicial affairs.

Regarding the reactions on the imprisonment of regime high-ranking officials, such as the brother of the former president, former intelligence chiefs and businessmen, and others accused of corruption, the magazine reported that the army leadership provided sufficient guarantees for the judiciary, and pledged to support it in its duties after being freed from restrictions and dictations.

Certain parties are trying to show that the judiciary's investigation into corruption cases was motivated by the military establishment. Otherwise, the magazine noted, “how can we explain that once the judiciary began investigating these cases, an anti-campaign began to question the seriousness of the whole process and question the justice system’s integrity?”

It is no secret to local political observers that the Army Chief sensitively deals with politicians and journalists who accuse him of being “engaged in politics” something he tries to deny whenever possible.

By rejecting a transitional phase, the army is committed to organizing presidential elections as set for July 04 which is not accepted by millions of protesters, according to observers.

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