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Algeria’s Army Chief Urges Holding Elections on Time

Algeria’s Army Chief Urges Holding Elections on Time

Wednesday, 25 September, 2019 - 09:45
Protesters demand social and economic reforms and departure of former regime figures in Algiers on Tuesday, September 24, 2019. (Reuters)

Algeria’s Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah again denied having any political ambitions to take office.


He stressed that the presidential elections will be held later this year, as scheduled.


“The army leadership has no political ambitions other than serving Algeria and its people,” Salah said at a military base in the southwestern province of Bechar.


He said this position was proved by the establishment of an independent election authority, which has begun preparing for this event.


An independent election authority was set up last week to oversee the vote and guarantee the integrity of elections instead of the interior ministry, which had been in charge of elections in the past.


Salah, 79, urged citizens to mobilize massively to make this vote a starting point for the revival of institutions.


“This will allow the election of a new president with full legitimacy that will enable him to meet the people’s aspirations.”


Meanwhile, a parliament session will be held today (Wednesday) to lift immunity off two deputies belonging to two parties affiliated with the ruling elite, one of whom was a prominent supporter of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.


Baha-Eddine Tliba and Smail Benhamadi are accused of receiving bribes during the 2017 parliamentary elections and secretly funding former Bouteflika's run for a fifth term in office.


However, Bouteflika decided to cancel the elections late March before resigning on April 2 under pressure from the people.


Tliba wrote to his colleagues in parliament a letter saying that he was “the victim of the gang and its members,” referring to the former president and his associates.


He also talked about two sons of a former National Liberation Front (FLN) official, whom he claimed had asked him for a bribe to nominate him as a candidate for the majority party in 2017 elections.


Being a leader in FLN, Tliba was the first among the former regime’s figures to request Bouteflika to run for a fourth term and supported his run for a fifth.


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