Algerian president-elect to open dialogue with opposition, experts say

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Abdelmadjid Tebboune Photo courtesy: Reuters
Abdelmadjid Tebboune
Photo courtesy: Reuters

Newly-elected Algerian president Abdelmadjid Tebboune will soon take office with the responsibility of solving many of the country’s complex political and economic challenges. And many experts say he will need help from the opposition to help.

“In light of the continuing public protests, the new president will certainly try to call up the opposition for dialogue,” said Noureddine Bekkis, professor of political sociology with the University of Algiers.

However, Bekkis predicts that the opposition will avoid dealing with the new president until they have a clear vision about the development of the current situation

“Also, we don’t know yet about the intentions and orientations of the new president. Let’s wait and see,” he added.

The newly-elected president vowed to open frank dialogue with different components of the protests.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune was recently elected Algerian president, following months of public protests that ousted former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April.

Mohamed Amroune, a political analyst, said, “Tebboune seems to be the right man for this delicate period at least for the upcoming five years, given that he has already served as minister and prime minister, which makes him familiar with the complex and urgent problems facing the country.”

Tebboune, 74, entered government service in 1991 as he was appointed minister-delegate for local government, while the last post he occupied was the prime minister in 2017.

He inherited a tough economic situation from his predecessor, as the country’s foreign reserves has dropped to around 35 billion U.S. dollars following the slump of oil prices in the global market in recent years.

“The new president would start with retrieving the huge funds transferred abroad during the rule of the former president,” said Mostafa Saidj, professor of political sciences and international relations with the University of Algeria.

He added that Tebboune may also resort to reinforcing public funds controlling mechanisms which were inactive during the rule of Bouteflika.

Some experts say that Bouteflika’s 20-year rule witnessed the spending of 1,000 billion dollars in useless economic projects that left Algeria still dependent on the oil industry.

Tebboune pledged to slow down the erosion of reserves by “tracking down inflated invoices to curb the hiking of the imports bill.”

He also promised to establish a new economic model that would help build what he called as a “knowledge-based economy,” meaning to rely on new technologies and renewable energy for growth.

Tebboune also vows to combat corruption.

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