Algeria: Interim President Appoints Six Member Panel To Lead National Dialogue

Amid ongoing political crisis, Algeria’s interim President Abdelkader Bensalah on Thursday announced the set up of a six-member panel that will oversee a national dialogue and hold a presidential election in the country, reported Reuters.

According to a statement issued by the President’s office, the panel would lead the comprehensive national dialogue, in which the authority and the army would not participate.

The panel, led by former parliament speaker Karim Younes, also includes university professors Fatiha Benabbou, Smail Lalmas, and Bouzid Lazhari, and human rights activists Abdelwahab Bendjelloul and Azzedine Benaissa.

The authority assigned to lead the dialogue will “enjoy credibility, competency, and acceptability among the people, as they have no party affiliation or electoral ambition,” the statement read.

“They accepted the mission of playing mediation roles … within the framework of a comprehensive political approach” to find a way out of the crisis hitting the nation, it added.

Bensalah told the panel at a meeting on Thursday that the national dialogue will cover all aspects related to the organization of the election in the country, its necessary conditions, and the date of the election. He said that the dialogue will be inclusive of the whole political class, national figures, and civil society. He also instructed state TV to broadcast the viewpoints of all factions.

The panel will immediately begin consultations with people willing to take part in the dialogue, the statement said.

Bensalah took office after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation on April 2 and called for a presidential election on July 4. But the election was postponed due to lack of candidates.

The army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah, has repeatedly urged the opposition to cooperate in the holding of an election in the country. But, protesters are demanding for the departure of the ruling elite. They want the removal of Bouteflika’s remaining aides, including Bensalah, a former head of the upper house of parliament, and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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