Algeria’s PM vows to include youth in government amid protests

"[The government] will represent all the potential of Algeria’s young people," Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui said.
Thursday 14/03/2019
Algeria's new prime minister Noureddine Bedoui gives a press conference, in Algiers, Algeria, Thursday, March 14, 2019. (AP)
Algeria's new prime minister Noureddine Bedoui gives a press conference, in Algiers, Algeria, Thursday, March 14, 2019. (AP)

Algeria’s newly appointed Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui on Thursday pledged to form an inclusive government of technocrats, including representatives of young people, who have played a lead role in weeks-long mass protests in the country.

"[The government] will represent all the potential of Algeria’s young people. It will be a government of technocrats including all
political stripes," Bedoui said at a press conference in the capital Algiers.

Algerians took to the streets in large numbers this week, protesting ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s decision to postpone indefinitely presidential polls, which were scheduled for April 18.

On Monday, the 82-year-old leader bowed to massive opposition and renounced his bid for a fifth term, but announced an unspecified transitional period, a step seen by protesters as an attempt to prolong his rule.

Bedoui said on Thursday the transitional stage would not be longer than a year.

On Wednesday, the opposition rejected Bouteflika’s decision to postpone elections and called for continued street protests.

Bedoui called for dialogue.

"We believe that dialogue is the way out of all our shortcomings and problems. We call on all our partners, especially the opposition, to reach out to us to explore the possibility of this dialogue in order to guarantee a smooth transition," he said.

His call comes a day before new massive protests expected to be held across Algeria.

Bouteflika’s decision to delay the elections was also seen by observers as violating the constitution, which has no article that
justifies staying longer in power. His current tenure ends on April 28.

Bouteflika, who has been in power since 1999, suffered a stroke in 2013 and has since been rarely seen in public.

(DPA)