Monday, 16 January 2012

Algeria: Ahmed Ouyahia will not stand down as Prime Minister

The congress of Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia's RND party was being held on Friday 6th th January as we went to press last week. It also came a few days after opposition party spokesmen had called on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to appoint a new Prime Minister and Cabinet before the forthcoming parliamentary elections on the grounds that the present incumbents could not guarantee a fair election.

Ouyahia gave a typically belligerent response. He announced on Saturday 7 th that he would not resign in the face of opposition parties' demands for a technocratic government to guide the country through the May elections. “I will remain in my post and will not resign,” he told reporters. “The decision to disband the government belongs to the person who nominated it,” he added, referring to the president.

The most politically relevant moment of the Congress was Ouhayia's questioning of Bouteflika's presidency. Rumours, put out by the president's camp, that Bouteflika is considering a fourth presidential term after the next presidential elections, scheduled for 2014, have been circulating for the last few weeks. In his address to the RND Congress, Ouyahia questioned whether Bouteflika should seek a fourth term. Ouyahia asked the Congress whether another term for the ailing 75 year-old would serve Algeria's interests.

The statement was interpreted by RND members and reporters that Ouyahia was laying down his marker for the 2014 presidential election. Ouyahia, 61, told reporters, however, that it was too early for him to address whether he would run in the 2014 presidential election.

In 2008, the constitution was changed to scrap the two-term limit of presidential terms, thus allowing Bouteflika to run for a third term. Ouyahia defended his support for that change, saying that the country needed Bouteflika at a time when Algeria was recovering from its 1990s insurgency.

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

© 2012 Menas Associates

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