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Algeria Army Chief Says Has ‘No Political’ Ambition

Algeria Army Chief Says Has ‘No Political’ Ambition

Wednesday, 22 May, 2019 - 17:30
Algerian chief of staff General Ahmed Gaed Salah. (Getty Images)

Algerian chief of staff General Ahmed Gaed Salah announced Wednesday that he had “no political ambition.”

"I have personally committed myself repeatedly... to support the Algerian people" who are protesting "as well as the efforts of state institutions and the justice system," Gaid Salah said in his third speech in as many days.

"We have no political ambition aside from serving our country in accordance with our constitutional roles," Salah said, according to a transcript of the text seen by AFP.

The army has backed the July 4 presidential polls, which were announced following the resignation of ailing leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika last month in the wake of mass protests.

A former Bouteflika loyalist, Salah played a key role in his downfall by calling for the president's impeachment just hours before he stepped down.

Protests have continued as Algerians call for transitional bodies to be set up ahead of any election, arguing the existing institutions are too marred by corruption for a legitimate vote to take place.

On Monday, Salah reiterated his support for the elections and said the polls could help Algeria "avoid falling into the trap of a constitutional void, with its accompanying dangers and unwelcome consequences".

Since Bouteflika quit, numerous judicial investigations have been launched against members of the former president's inner circle.

Salah on Wednesday denied accusations he was behind the probes, saying the judicial institutions were free "from all forms of constraint, diktats and pressure".

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