Thursday, 17 February 2011

Former leader of Algeria's ruling party urges reform

Former leader of Algeria's ruling party Abdelhamid Mehri has urged President Abdulaziz Bouteflika to respond to the unrest sweeping the country by reshuffling his government. He said Algeria needed to undergo a radical change to coincide with the country's 50 years of independence from France.

In a letter to Bouteflika, Mehri said the government was no longer capable of addressing the nation's challenges. He noted that the “voices calling for a peaceful change of this system are many,” adding “this change cannot be postponed any longer".

Former leader of the National Liberation Front (FLN) Mehri played a key role in Algeria's struggle for independence. He was also instrumental in negotiating the Evian Treaty, ending 130 years of French colonial rule.

Algeria is one of several North African countries affected by large-scale demonstration and anti-government rallies. The demonstrators have pledged to continue with the protests until the government takes heed. There has been a heavy police presence at the rallies, and reports of dozens of arrests.

In a bid to appease the public, Algeria's Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia has said the government will lift a 19 year state of emergency by the end of the month.

Sources: BBC News, Xinhua, Reuters, AFP

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

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