Algeria’s interim president wants talks on upcoming elections

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Algerian interim President Abdelkader Bensalah

Algerian interim President Abdelkader Bensalah on Wednesday announced to launch a comprehensive dialogue led by independent personalities in which the government and army would not participate.

Bensalah said in a speech broadcast on the state-run television that he “once again calls all political players to join the comprehensive dialogue process that the government is due to launch in a bid to discuss the forthcoming presidential elections.”

He added that the dialogue is open for all political parties, civil society organizations, unions, and representatives of the protest movement erupted in February.

The dialogue should be led by independent and respectable personalities who have neither political color nor political ambitions, Bensalah said.

Bensalah further noted that the dialogue’s ultimate objective is to organize fair and free elections, adding that “the establishment of an independent commission for monitoring the elections is also on the top agenda of this dialogue.”

Algeria has been rocked by wide-scale protests every Friday since Feb 22, forcing former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign on April 2.

For now, the demonstrators are demanding the departure of interim President Bensalah and the cabinet led by Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui under the pretext that they belong to the regime of ousted president Bouteflika.

They want solid guarantees for free and fair election after a short term transition period led by honest and clean personalities.

Several political parties and prominent personalities have announced proposals for edging toward solving the political stalemate in this North African.

The majority of the proposals have rejected any dialogue before the departure of the current cabinet and the interim president to open the way for a transitional period of six months at least led by reliable personalities ahead of organizing fair and free elections.

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