“The army should stay away from politics,” said the public figure.
Rabat – Algerian journalist Hafid Derradji has criticized the “circumentive” statement of Algeria’s powerful National Army chief, Gaid Salah, who called on the Constitutional Council to remove President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from power by implementing Article 102.
Derradji took to his Facebook to comment on Salah’s statement, which shocked many Algerian citizens supporting the Algerian Hirak protest movement. The senior officer has long been known for his unwavering support for Bouteflika.
The beIN SPORTS journalist wrote: “Do they want Bouteflika’s departure and the continuation of the system?? Is the activation of Article 102 a constitutional solution or a coup against the will of the people?”
According to Article 102, “whenever the President of the Republic, because of serious and enduring illness, finds himself in a total incapacity to exercise his functions, the Constitutional Council shall meet as of right and, after having verified by all appropriate means that the incapacity indeed exists, shall propose to the Parliament by unanimity to declare a state of incapacity.”
In a televised interview, Derradji questioned Gaid Salah’s capacity to make such statements.
Since Salah resigned from political office and only holds a military position, Derradji asked, “With which capacity does the chief of staff speak?” He suggested that Gaid Salah cannot order the application of Article 102 because he is no longer deputy minister of defense.
Derradji said that the Constitution clearly asks the army to stay out of politics under any circumstances.
Against Algerians demands?
Derradji then asked if there is a “consensus” between the chief of staff and Said Bouteflika, Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s brother, who has long been accused by political observers of controlling the Algerian regime.
“President Bouteflika left a long time ago in my opinion,” said Derradji, asking whether there is a “consensus for what can be saved.”
Before the interview, Derradji said that Gaid Salah could not have commented without Said Bouteflika’s knowledge.
“His intervention can be seen as a way to block the proposal of temporary presidential council to oust the chief of staff. People have the right to be suspicious, to doubt and fear you because you made us used to not trust you even if you give up,” wrote Derradji.
Derradji also recalled when Salah himself was among the majority who supported Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term.
He added that Salah was among the group who submitted a file with a medical certificate to prove that Bouteflika was qualified to run for president again. “How can he be eligible a few weeks ago and is not qualified today? These are the existing contradictions,” the journalist concluded.
It is not the first time Derradji commented on Algeria’s hirak, the popular movement against the “pouvoir,” or the system.
In February, Derradji criticized Bouteflika’s decision to run for a fifth term before his decision to step down.
Derradji wrote that people in Algeria “started feeling ashamed.”
“Bouteflika did not run, nor can he make his candidacy, nor campaign, nor even swear in,” said Derradji, doubting Bouteflika’s ability to perform “his constitutional duties.”