Algeria: Cabinet reshuffle mere formality
Algiers, 26 May (AKI) – The forced resignation this week of Algerian Prime Minister Ahmad Ouyahia and his replacement with Abdelaziz Belkhadem is just a « formal change », a leading analyst says. « The Algerian political system is currently facing an impasse due to the failed implementation of the programme of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, which has created dissatisfaction in the public opinion, » political analyst Mahmud Belhimer told Adnkronos International (AKI).
« The choice of the former foreign minister Belkhadem as premier seeks to give new life to the political climate, stimulating the executive and creating new expectations in the public opinion and media, » the analyst said. However, he claimed « it won’t last for long. »
According to Belhimer, « the real change in Algeria can take place only by reforming the role of institutions, for example by making the judiciary independent and making sure the laws are implemented and respected. »
The Algerian researcher called on the country’s authorities to « set aside petty interests in the preparation of presidential elections in 2009 which are evident in efforts to change the constitution so that president Bouteflika can run for a third mandate. »
Belhimer stressed the need to « exploit oil revenues which last year totalled over 40 billion dollars and solve the problem of unemployment especially among youths. »
« In Algeria we are used to a political environment where presidential candidates need the approval of a powerful elite, first of all of the army, » he said. « Belkhadem doesn’t have enough support to become president, » he added.