Algeria army chief says some parties seeking constitutional vacuum

Algeria’s army chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah on Tuesday accused some parties of wanting a constitutional vacuum, to prolong the country’s political crisis, private channel Ennahar TV reported.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down on April 2 after two months of mass protests demanding democratic reforms and prosecution of people that demonstrators regarded as corrupt.

But demonstrations have continued, seeking the removal of the ruling elite that has governed the North African nation since independence from France in 1962.

“Certain parties want to enter a dark tunnel called ‘constitutional vacuum’,” the channel quoted Gaed Salah as saying at a military base in the southwestern province of Bechar.

Protesters are also now demanding the resignation of interim president Abdelkader Bensalah, a former head of the upper house of parliament, whom they see as a close ally of Bouteflika.

The authorities have postponed a presidential election previously planned for July 4 citing a lack of candidates. No new date for the vote has been set.

The army is now the main player in Algeria’s politics, and Gaed Salah has called for dialogue to prepare for elections and pave the way for a new president to start reforms demanded by protesters.

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