Algeria moves toward new gov’t after parliament elections

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerrad offered his resignation Thursday following June 12 parliamentary elections, but was mandated to stay in office until a new government is formed.

During a meeting, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune asked him to keep handling affairs until the new government is in place, a task that must be completed within 30 days.

The election saw the North African nation’s oldest party — the National Liberation Front, thought to have been out of favor with the electorate — win the most seats.

A boycott called by Hirak pro-democracy protesters and traditional opposition parties contributed to a record low turnout of 23% in what were billed as high-stakes elections.

The new prime minister would normally be chosen from the ranks of the nationalist FLN, which until 1989 was the country’s only political party.

The FLN lost ground in the elections, but still won 98 of the 407 seats in the lower chamber, Algeria’s Constitutional Council announced Wednesday after verifying the results, slightly lowering an initial count. Independents won 84 seats. The moderate Islamist party Movement for a Peaceful Society won 65 seats.

Tebboune, who called the elections as part of his bid to build a “new Algeria,” had suggested that he wants a government of national consensus. Putting a new, younger face on Algeria’s parliament, where seats were trafficked in the past in widespread electoral fraud, was among the aims of the early elections.

Tebboune became president after Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in 2019 after two decades in office, under pressure from weekly marches of the Hirak movement. However, Hirak protests have been all but banned under Tebboune, who claims the movement has been infiltrated by movements seeking to bring down Algeria.

Dozens of Hirak protesters have been jailed. So have former officials who grew rich under Bouteflika in rampant corruption schemes, including former FLN ministers.

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