Algerian President Appoints
By: Atef Kedadra Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab).
Algerian Water Resource Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, who was appointed by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika as prime minister to replace Ahmed Ouyahia, has been tasked with carrying out consultations to form a new government and is considered a minister that the President of the Republic can trust. Moreover, he is a figure which seems to have garnered the support of the various political parties.
About This Article
Four months after Algeria's legislative elections, in an apparent bid to garner support from various parties, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has appointed a popular new prime minister. Amid mounting administrative challenges, the new leader of Algeria’s government has promised to pursue a reform agenda.Publisher: Al-Hayat (Pan Arab)
Algeria: Sellal Replaces Ouyahia as Prime Minister, Vows to Continue Reforms
Author: Atef Kedadra
First Published: September 5, 2012
Posted on: September 6 2012
Translated by: Joelle El-Khoury and Sami-Joe Abboud
Categories : Algeria
His name was repeatedly mentioned during governmental reshuffles, and he was the leader of Bouteflika's campaign in the three elections in which he ran for president, following a long career in administrative, diplomatic and ministerial positions.
The appointment of Sellal as successor to Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia was announced on September 3 at a late hour, nearly four months after the legislative elections. The ceremony took place yesterday [September 4], and Ouyahia handed over the premiership to Sellal.
A presidential statement said that in accordance with the provisions of Article 77, paragraph five, Bouteflika ended the term of Ouyahia, who submitted the government's resignation, adding that the president appointed Sellal as prime minister.
There were reports that Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni, deputy prime minister, has officially left the government and that the term of Abu Bakr Ben Bouzid was ended. Ben Bouzid is known as "the dean of ministers." He is the minister of education and he has held several ministerial positions over nearly 20 years.
The same sources quoted news about the termination of the terms of Health Minister Djamel Ould Abbas, Minister of Vocational and Educational Training El-Hadi Khaldi, Youth Minister Hachemi Djiar and Culture Minister Khalida Toumi.
In his first statement after his appointment, Sellal said that the top item on the new government's agenda is to continue to implement reforms and complete the program of the President of the Republic, describing his mission as prime minister as a "great." The new prime minister revealed a working document for the program that he intends to implement, especially with regard to reforms, referring in particular to the upcoming local elections and the amendment of the constitution. In this regard, he explained that "the road ahead requires a lot of work, but our first and ultimate goal is to continue the completion of the program of the president in the field," in addition to the need to breathe life into the national economy.
Sellal continued, saying, "I promise all citizens, like I promised the President of the Republic, that we will work with faith and devotion to serve the interests of the people and the nation because Algeria is capable of offering a lot to its children, and this is what the president has entrusted me with," calling on citizens to trust the new government and give it a chance to continue its work.
Abdelmalek Sellal is a technocrat who is not affiliated with any political organization, but he is one of the closest to President Bouteflika. He led the president’s campaign in the three elections in which he ran for president. However, the option of his nomination is described as "the ready-card option" given the number of times his name was mentioned whenever there was a cabinet reshuffle, or whenever the country faced deadlocks, as has been the case since the legislative elections held last May.
Bouteflika's decision appointing Sellal as PM is believed to frustrate the majority party — National Liberation Front (FNL) — after that its leader Abdul-Aziz Belkhadem reportedly said that his party desires to hold the position of PM. However, none of the constitution’s provisions requires the president to appoint the prime minister from the majority party in parliament.
The new prime minister is highly trusted by Bouteflika, is one of the few officials who have personal ties with the president and the only official with a sense of humor similar to that of Bouteflika. Sellal was born in 1948 in Constantine (450 km east of the capital, Algiers). He was appointed minister of the interior and local communities immediately after Bouteflika became president in 1999, and went on to become minister for youth and sport and minister of public works and transport. Sellal graduated from the National School of Administration and served as Algeria's ambassador to Hungary, after holding prefect positions in Tamanrasset in the south and Arzio in Western Algeria.
Yesterday, there was talk about appointing Ahmed Ouyahia as minister of foreign affairs. Confirming this information means that the crisis in Mali and southern Algeria is taken into account. Ouyahia served as ambassador to Bamako and he is the godfather of the first peace agreement between the Tuareg rebellion and the government of Mali in early 1990s. However, Ouyahia may leave the government after protests escalated within his own party — The National Democratic Gathering — demanding his departure. The party’s leaders have objected to the Gathering’s policy and founded a corrective movement called the Saving the Gathering Movement.
|Back to news list|