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Algeria's Goudjil Elected Speaker, Angering Hirak Movement

Algeria's Goudjil Elected Speaker, Angering Hirak Movement

Thursday, 25 February, 2021 - 09:00
Algeria’s Speaker Salah Goudjil (AFP)

The Algerian National Assembly named Salah Goudjil as speaker, which was met with a wave of criticism from Hirak activists who condemned President Abdelmadjid Tebboune's choice.

Observers said the designation contradicts the president’s positions, who pledged to "build a new Algeria" and encouraged young people to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Hirak activists expressed their anger after Goudjil’s nomination, saying it reflects negatively on the president's approach to establish a "new Algeria", in which young cadres are given the opportunity to run main state bodies, as pledged by Tebboune during his presidential campaign at the end of 2019.

In 2020, Goudjil was named interim president of the National Assembly succeeding Abdelkader Bensalah, who resigned for health reasons.

He was named as head of the parliament after some members of the council withdrew their nominations for the position indicating that the matter was already decided by the presidency.

Goudjil belongs to the “presidential quota” in the National Assembly, which is a group of 47 parliamentarians chosen by Tebboune to support policies and bills introduced by the government.

He has benefited from the strong support of the National Liberation Front and Democratic National Rally, the two pillars of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's regime.

Goudjil, 90, is a veteran of Algeria's revolution for independence and assumed a ministerial position at the end of the 1970s.

He is also considered one of the symbols of the former National Liberation Front. Hirak called for dissolving the Front accusing it of corruption in the country.

The judiciary has imprisoned two secretaries-general of the Liberation Front, in addition to several of its parliamentarians and ministers, on corruption charges, including paying bribes during the 2017 elections.

Goudjil described the upcoming legislative and local elections as an “important milestone," emphasizing that true democracy provides Algeria with immunity to face all the challenges.

“Algeria has set an example to be followed in democracy in defiance of its enemies at home and abroad.”

Last week, Tebboune said he would launch arrangements for establishing a "Higher Council for Youth", which was introduced by the new constitution.

He also said that the state will cover the expenses of electoral campaigns of young candidates for the parliamentary elections, after announcing the dissolution of parliament.

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