Algerians demonstrate during the first Friday rally since the president's surprise announcement this week that he would not seek re-election but was cancelling April polls, in central Algiers on March 15, 2019. (Photo by RYAD KRAMDI / AFP) (Photo credit should read RYAD KRAMDI/AFP/Getty Images)

As Protests Continue, Algeria’s Ruling Party Elects New Leader

Algeria’s ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) party elected Mohamed Djemai as its new leader, according to state-run media. The 50-year-old is relatively young compared to other senior FLN officials, most of whom are in their 70s. The development comes weeks after longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down following months of mass demonstrations that drew hundreds of thousands into the streets. Algeria’s military, which is the most powerful institution in country, initially hedged its bets but eventuality sided with the protesters. Nevertheless, citizens are continuing to demonstrate, demanding an end to the FLN-dominated political system formed in the wake of the country’s independence from France in 1962. Notably, authorities have launched investigations into alleged corruption by several individuals from the ruling class, including former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia – who was replaced by Bouteflika prior to the latter’s ouster – and the current finance minister. Abdelkader Bensalah, leader of Algeria’s upper house of parliament, is acting head of state until elections are held on July 4.

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