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Algeria: 3 MPs sacked in government reshuffle

August 18, 2017 at 12:17 pm

The latest Algerian government reshuffle has included the dismissal of three ministers accused of “harassing businessmen and investors” and engaging in the “chaos of government initiatives”.

The reshuffle comes as Algerian Prime Minister, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, was sacked after only three months in the job and accused by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of harassing businessmen close to the government by a set of initiatives such as freezing imports of certain companies. He was replaced by Ahmed Ouyahia who has been PM three times previously.

There have been calls for demonstrations in Algeria and abroad against the recent dismissals and what activists called “financial mafia rule” and manipulation of state institutions.

Activists have launched a petition to demand a meeting between Bouteflika with a civilian delegation to ascertain his health and knowledge of the recent decisions issued in his name.

Alongside Tebboune, the Minister of Industry and Mines, Mahjoub Bdeh, was dismissed after only two and a half months in office, for his role in car factories that he said were fraudulent. As a result he stopped investment in the projects and opened an investigation into the manipulation of prices of imported cars.

The next official to go was Commerce Minister, Ahmed Sassi, after the suspension of imports of goods aimed at protecting local production. These decisions were opposed by import barons and businessmen who filed complaints with the presidency that this amounted to economic harassment.

The Minister of Housing, Yusuf Rafha, was also dismissed from the government after he refused to pay the dues of a number of construction companies owned by businessmen who were carrying out housing projects for the state. He opened an investigation into the accuracy of the completion of these projects and their compliance with the laws, and threatened to withdraw projects because of the failure to adhere to the deadlines for their completion.

This is the first time that the financial cartel, represented by the Forum of Heads of Enterprises led by influential businessman Ali Haddad, close to the brother of Algerian President Said Bouteflika, has succeeded in imposing its requirements and intervening in the appointment and dismissal of ministers from the government.