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Algeria opposition proposes presidential committee to lead transitional phase

March 25, 2019 at 3:45 am

Demonstrators wave Algerian flags during a protest over fears of plot to prolong the Algerian president’s rule, on Place de la Republique (Republic’s Square) in Paris, on 24 March, 2019 [FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty]

Algerian opposition called on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Saturday to step down, proposing the setting up of a “presidential committee to lead a transitional period for a limited duration.”

This proposition was included in the final statement of a meeting held by the Algerian opposition, which was devoted to discussing an alternative road map in response to the plan announced by Bouteflika a few days ago.

According to Anadolu Agency, a meeting was held at the headquarters of the Justice and Development Party (Islamic political party) in the capital in the presence of its president Abdullah Jaballah, the former prime minister and head of the Party of the Talaie El Houriat (Vanguard of Freedoms), Ali Benflis, former Minister of Information, and chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party, Mohamed Al-Saeed, and Secretary General of Alfajr Aljadeed Party, Al-Taher bin Yaish.

While Abderrazak Makri, head of the Movement of Society for Peace, the largest Islamic party in Algeria, was the most prominent absentee.

The statement conveyed that the meeting reached a seven-point roadmap aimed at overcoming the political crisis taking place in the country since Bouteflika announced his candidacy for a fifth term on 10 February.

The statement also called on the Algerians to preserve their uprising and pay attention to all attempts of manipulation until they fulfil their demands.

The statement also demanded the implementation of “a short transitional period in which the powers of the outgoing president are transferred to a presidential committee.”

Read: France has no right to interfere in Algeria’s protests, foreign minister says

It equally indicated that the proposed presidential committee “will be composed of national personalities known for their competence, integrity, and credibility. It will be the top priority of the committee to meet the demands of the people, with the abstention of its members from running for the subsequent elections.”

During the meeting, the opposition set for the presidential committee the powers to appoint a government of national competencies to manage the country, establish an independent national commission to organize the elections and amend the election law in order to ensure fair electoral procedures.

The participants stressed that the implementation of the roadmap’s terms should not exceed six months.

The statement called on the army “to respond to the demands of Algerian citizens, and help to fulfil these popular requests with respect for the people’s legitimacy.”

In the same context, the meeting condemned “the campaign launched by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ramtane Lamamra, aimed at defaming the popular uprising across various foreign countries.”

On March 18 and 19, Lamamra toured Italy, Russia, and Germany, explaining the crisis in Algeria and reassuring foreign partners that Algeria would overcome the turmoil and get “stronger”.

On 11 March, Bouteflika announced a roadmap for organizing a national dialogue conference and amending the constitution, before organizing a presidential election to choose an elected leader for the country.

The Algerians rejected the president’s plan, as millions have demonstrated in most of the country’s provinces, considering that such a roadmap is an unconstitutional extension of Bouteflika’s fourth mandate.

Since 22 February, Algeria has been witnessing massive popular rallies, which are considered the largest in the history of the country, as the Algerian people rejected the extension of Bouteflika and the prominent figures of his regime’s time in power.