ALGIERS (AFP) – Former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune was sworn in as the new President of protest-hit Algeria yesterday, a week after winning a widely boycotted election.
He succeeds veteran president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced from office in April in the face of mass demonstrations.
Tebboune must now address the grievances of the protesters, who have remained on the streets to prevent what they see as a ploy by the political elite to retain its hold on power.
The 74-year-old is seen as close to the Armed Forces Chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, who has been the North African country’s effective ruler since Bouteflika quit.
He and other top brass attended the swearing-in ceremony alongside Tebboune’s defeated rivals for the presidency.
While Tebboune’s period as prime minister ended with his sacking by Bouteflika, protesters see the long-time regime insider as part of the same corrupt system that has ruled Algeria since independence in 1962 – a system they want dismantled. Following his election, Tebboune vowed to “extend my hand to the Hirak (protest movement) for a dialogue”, appoint young ministers and push for a new constitution.