Uproar in Algeria as Ally of Former President Named New Leader


Algerian lawmakers have appointed a regime stalwart as the country’s first new president in two decades, to the dismay of protesters seeking sweeping change after the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The appointment of Abdelkader Bensalah, the speaker of the upper house, as interim president follows constitutional rules but goes against the demands of demonstrators, who are pushing for him and other veteran politicians to stand down.

Opposition parties refused to back the appointment and boycotted the session, as thousands of students protested in Algiers. “They haven’t heard us, we will continue to march!” protesters shouted, clutching handwritten placards and Algerian flags. For the first time in seven weeks, police in the capital fired tear gas to try to disperse the protesters, who were also hit with water cannons.

The protest movement is calling for a new transitional framework that is committed to deep reforms and organizing free elections. Facing endemic unemployment, young Algerians hope the protest movement can ultimately improve their prospects.

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The Guardian