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Sat, 25 Jan 2020 19:36 GMT

Who is Algeria’s Newly Elected President?

Politics

Reem Leila

Sat, 14 Dec 2019 10:39 GMT

At the end of presidential elections, which were marred by protests and boycotts, former Prime Minister, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, was declared the country’s president, without the need for a second electoral round, as he has received more than 58% of the votes. 

Tebboune 74, who was born at the city of Naama, in western Algeria, is considered as a regime insider, who has served in various ministerial positions, under the rule of former president, Abdel-Aziz Bouteflika, who was ousted due to popular protest in April. 

The Financial Times reported that Tebboune was appointed as Algeria’s prime minister in 2017, to succeed Abdel-Malek Sellal, and was dismissed after only three months, following a dispute with Ali Haddad, the then powerful business tycoon, who was a close friend of Bouteflika. Haddad has since been sentenced to seven years in jail over corruption charges. The appointment of Tebboune was a surprise for Algerian political elites, who had expected Sellal to be reappointed.

Tebboune will be facing an almost impossible mission, due to the widespread anger against the election, and the old regime which he is affiliated to. He will have to deal with a worsening economic crisis brought on by the fall in oil prices since 2014, also reported the Financial Times. Tebboune has previously served as minister of housing from 2001 to 2002 under Ali Benflis, and again from 2012 to 2017 in the government of prime minister Sellal. 

Before this, he was appointed as minister-delegate for local government from 1991 to 1992, and from 2000 t0 2001. Later, under president Bouteflika, he served in the government as minister of communication and culture from 1999 to 2000, and then as minister-delegate for local government from 2000 to 2001. In 2002, he represented Bouteflika in one-off diplomatic missions in Iran and Syria. 

After winning the presidential election Tebboune will have to exert great efforts in order to restore stability. Prior to this, he must work on winning the trust of more than one million Algerians who were eligible to vote, as they boycotted the presidential elections, which witnessed the lowest turnout of less than 40%, for a multi-party election since independence. 

The Los Angeles Times reported that Tebboune used to have strong ties with army chief Gaid Salah, a much-criticised figure among Algerian members of the Hirak protest movement, or the Revolution of Smiles, who have been staging peaceful protests nationwide since last February.

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