Anti-establishment demonstrators gather in Algiers on May 17. (Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Algerian Army Chief Emphasizes Need for July Election

Algeria’s army chief, Gen. Ahmed Gaid Salah, urged protesters on Monday to accept presidential elections set for July 4. “Holding a presidential election could help [Algeria] avoid falling into the trap of a constitutional void, with its accompanying dangers and unwelcome consequences,” he said in a speech, adding that holding the poll would “stop those who are trying to prolong this crisis,” the AFP news agency reported. Demonstrators have stated that Algeria’s current institutions and politicians are too tainted by corruption to oversee a legitimate vote. Activists have taken to the streets of Algiers for months to pressure senior officials who have governed the North African country since independence from France in 1962 to step down. They and the army precipitated the resignation of president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who had been in power for 20 years, however the rallying cry is now for the resignation of interim president Abdelkader Bensalah as well as Prime Minister Nouredinne Bedoui.

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