Army chief says ‘time running out’ to resolve Algeria crisis

Ahmed Gaid Salah says solution must be found ‘as soon as possible’, as protesters demand departure of rulers.

Tayeb Belaiz Algeria protest
A defaced picture of Tayeb Belaiz is carried as students take part in a protest seeking the departure of the ruling elite [Ramzi Boudina/Reuters]

Algeria’s army chief has said the military is considering all options to resolve the country’s political crisis, as thousands of protesters marched through the capital calling for the country’s interim leaders to resign.

In a speech broadcast on state media on Tuesday, General Ahmed Gaid Salah warned that “time is running out” to find a solution to the ongoing upheaval ahead of elections scheduled for July 4.

“All options are open in the pursuit of overcoming the different difficulties and finding a solution to the crisis as soon as possible, in a way that serves our nation’s interests without regard to individual interest,” he said.

His comments came after state media reported that the head of the Algerian Constitutional Council had stepped down.

Tayeb Belaiz on Tuesday informed the council, which will play a key role in the upcoming presidential election, that “he presented his resignation … to the head of state”.

Algerians have called for Belaiz and other top figures to quit in mass rallies which prompted the departure of veteran President Abdelaziz Bouteflika earlier this month.

Despite the president’s resignation, the demonstrations have continued, with protesters calling for a broad overhaul of the political system.

In Algiers on Tuesday, marchers demanded that Bouteflika’s allies withdraw from any political transition.

“We will continue to march until a transitional [authority] led by clean politicians is set up,” medical student Mira Laifa told AFP news agency.

Samia Baloun, 25, told DPA news agency that the departure of Belaiz “opens the way for the resignation of other members of the regime, who are hated by the streets”.


Algerians have been protesting against the “3B” – Belaiz, Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, and Abdelkader Bensalah who served as the upper house speaker until being appointed interim president after Bouteflika’s resignation.

Bensalah has defended his appointment under constitutional rules and has pledged a transparent vote.

The constitutional council is tasked with vetting election candidates, as well as ensuring the regularity of the polls.

Stephen McInerney, the executive director at Project on Middle East Democracy, said Belaiz’s resignation was unlikely to appease demonstrators.

“This is a significant resignation,” he told Al Jazeera.

“At the same time, I don’t think it’s enough to satisfy the demands of the protesters who really want a genuine transition that’s led by independent figures.”

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies