Continental Focus, International Reach

Algeria’s Bensalah Promises Free Elections in 90 Days

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Algeria’s interim president, Abdelkader Bensalah, promised to organize free elections within 90 days following weeks of protests that led to the resignation of leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika after 20 years in power.
“I am committed to organizing elections,” said Bensalah, who has been re-elected as leader of the upper house since the early 2000s. The army was aligned with the constitution as a pathway out of the crisis, he added in his 16-minute speech.
In a televised statement, Bensalah said he would consult with the political class and civil society. While the interim president seems to be saying the right things, protestors are looking for a whole different government. Bensalah is a long-time ally of Bouteflika and seen as part of the ruling caste by the protesters.
Promises were made to “set a national and sovereign commission to secure fair elections,” but it is unclear as of yet if the protestors will take a wait-and-see stance when it comes to Bensalah’s promises.
Demonstrators are calling for radical change and not more of the same of Algeria’s elite who include veterans of the war of independence against France, ruling party figures, businessmen, the army and labor unions.