Algeria sets presidential election for July 4
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Algeria's new interim leader Abdelkader Bensalah announced Wednesday that a new presidential election would be held on July 4. The Algerian constitution requires a new vote within 90 days of the appointment of an interim president.
Bensalah was named on Tuesday to serve as interim leader for a maximum of 90 days until a new election can be organised. Under the constitution he cannot run for the post himself. Upon taking up the role he promised in a televised speech to organise a round of free elections.
Bensalah took the helm after weeks of protests that led to the resignation of longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika after 20 years as president.
Algeria's powerful army chief, Ahmed Gaid Salah, said Wednesday that the military would watch over the process of preparing for presidential elections.
Salah also warned anew of an alleged foreign interests he said were promoting certain individuals to run the transition and manipulating protesters to destabilise the nation, to "seed discord among the children of the people ... aimed at leading the country to a constitutional void".
He did not say who he believed was interfering, but referred to "certain foreign parties, considering their historic record" – a likely veiled reference to former colonial power France.
From the start of the nation's political crisis, the army has "categorically rejected" intervening, Salah said, stressing that it will stand as a "solid support for the people" during the transition.
However, he warned that "unrealisable demands" could impact the economy, a major driver of protests in a nation with high unemployment and a very young population.
He pleaded for "patience ... and lucidity" to ensure peace and to form the basis for a "state of law and institutions".
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)