Ben Saleh remains as interim president of Algeria Politics and Economy -

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Tuesday (9 July 2019) ends the presidential term set by the Algerian constitution by 90 days for Abdelkader Ben Saleh as interim president. The 77-year-old declared that the "exceptional situation" forced him to "continue to take responsibility for the presidency until a new president is elected." But Ben Saleh remains in power after the day "out of any constitutional framework", as noted by the historian Karima Dirch researcher at the Center for Scientific Research in France.

A week ago, Abdul Qader bin Saleh called for a "dialogue led by independent national figures" in which the state or the army would not participate, with the aim of "uniting" presidential elections as soon as possible. The protestors' response was not delayed. Last Friday, on the 57th anniversary of independence, hundreds of thousands of Algerians took to the streets on Friday for anti-government protests, despite rising heat and widespread security, rejecting Abdelkader Ben Saleh's proposal.

Demonstrators demanded the release of Lakhdar Burqaa, 86, one of the heroes of the independence war, who was also charged with "insulting a regular body and weakening the morale of the army" after remarks criticizing army chief of staff Ahmed Kayed Saleh. In a statement to the German first channel (ARD), one of the demonstrators said that "the police behave today as the police acted during colonial days," stressing that Borka "is imprisoned because of his convictions."

The Constitutional Council, the highest judicial body, canceled the elections scheduled for July 4 because of the "impossibility" of organizing them because there were no candidates to replace Bouteflika, who resigned on 2 April.

The Constitutional Council also issued a decision to keep Ben Saleh in his temporary presidential post until new elections are held. A situation "not stipulated by the Constitution," a legal expert told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Observers say the army, the country's most powerful institution, managed to manage the transition after Bouteflika's reign but wants to overcome the crisis quickly by holding presidential elections.

Who holds things behind the curtain?

For the protesters and many observers, the transitional president is not the de facto ruler, but Ahmed Kayed Saleh, the army chief of staff, who is at the forefront of the political game, having played a pivotal role in removing Bouteflika and pushing him to resign.

The slogans of Friday demonstrations again targeted Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Kayed Saleh, who is holding the protest movement and observers of the actual power in the country since Bouteflika resigned. The protesters chanted "Qayed Saleh left," and "the people and the army Khawah Khawwa and the leader Saleh with the traitors."

Algerian sociologist Nasser Jabi said in an audio interview with ARD that "the army is often behind the scenes, controlling the fate of the country," adding that "the military wants to keep the situation that way and does not want to change the regime" .

KHALID SALAMA (AFP, Reuters, AFP)

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