Algeria election: Ex-PM Tebboune to replace Bouteflika after boycotted poll

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Former Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune has been elected president in a vote marred by protests.

The 74-year-old succeeds Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced to resign in April after two decades in power.

Mr Tebboune took 58% of the votes in Thursday’s election, according to the head of the electoral commission.

Mr Tebboune and the four other candidates were criticised for being closely linked with the rule of Mr Bouteflika. President Bouteflika stepped down following demonstrations across the country.

Anti-government rallies have continued, however, with protesters demanding the sweeping away of the entire political establishment. Thousands of people took to the streets of the capital, Algiers, on Thursday to protest against the election.

Mr Tebboune rose from a long career as a civil servant to become prime minister in 2017 but lasted just seven months after falling out with influential businessmen. He also served as housing minister and information minister.

In his election campaign he promised to pursue taxpayer money “stolen and hidden abroad”.

Mr Tebboune has been dubbed “the chosen one” by social media users who see him as close to army chief Gen Ahmed Gaid Salah, the county’s de facto leader.

Algerians chant slogans during a protest rally in Algiers, Algeria, 12 December 2019.
Protesters on Thursday called for the election to be boycotted

Electoral officials say about nine million people voted on Thursday – a turnout of about 40%.

“The turnout is satisfying and it will give the new president enough backing to implement his reforms,” said Ahmed Mizab, a commentator on state television.

For nearly a year, thousands of Algerians have protested every Friday in the capital and other cities against any elections under the current government.

They want all officials associated with the regime of ousted President Bouteflika. including interim President Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Nouredine Bedoui, to be removed from office.

“No election with the gangs”, “they must all be removed” protesters have chanted week after week, referring to the politicians and businessmen in the inner circle of the ousted president whom they see as corrupt.

They say new faces must be brought in to organise “real elections” in a country where the winner of presidential elections has always been easy to guess.

On Thursday, protesters briefly overran a polling station in Algiers. An attempt by police to disperse the crowd failed.

Two more voting centres were stormed in the Kabylie region, east of the capital.

BBC

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