ALGIERS (Rahnuma) : Algeria’s parliament on Tuesday named Abdelkader Bensaleh, head of the country’s Council of the Nation (upper house of parliament), as an interim president, replacing Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who resigned last week.
This came in a joint session held by the lower and upper houses of parliament to activate Article 102 of the Algerian Constitution.
The article states that, in the event of the president’s resignation or death, the parliamentary speaker should assume executive authority for a 90-day period during which presidential elections can be conducted.
Tuesday’s session was attended by 470 members of parliament out of 487, the total number of seats of both chambers.
Addressing lawmakers, Bensaleh vowed “to work sincerely” to let the Algerians practice their right to elect a new president.
He lauded the Algerian people for championing “positive change” in the country and hailed the “role of the national popular army that did its job very professionally at this stage”.
Reports of Bensaleh’s appointment sent thousands into the streets of the capital Algiers and several cities to protest, denouncing the interim leader as part of Bouteflika’s regime.
In Algiers, protestors chanted slogans against Bensaleh and in support of the military. Similar protests were reported in the cities of Constantine and Bejaia.
Last week, Bouteflika resigned under popular protests demanding the departure of all officials affiliated with the former president’s regime.