The deputy prime minister of Algeria was sacked just a few weeks after his appointment.
Rabat – Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has appointed a new government in a major cabinet reshuffle announced on Sunday.
Algerian media reported that 21 ministers have been replaced. Prime Minister Noureddine Bedioui will resume his post as a prime minister.
Bouteflika has also sacked Ramtane Lamamra, who was appointed a few weeks ago as a foreign minister and a deputy prime minister.
Bouteflika also sacked Energy Minister Mustapha Guitouni, who will be replaced by Mohamed Arkab.
Central Bank Governor Mohamed Loukal will replace Finance Minister Abderrahmane Rouia.
In a surprising move, Bouteflika named Algeria’s top army chief Gaid Salah as deputy defense minister despite his recent announcement calling for Bouteflika’s resignation in accordance with Article 102 of the Constitution.
Article 102 says that “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.”
Salah reiterated his call on Saturday, emphasizing that implementing Article 102 will end the crisis in Algeria.
The new government reshuffle follows six weeks of mass protests described as an Algerian hirak or popular movement.
The hirak aims for major reforms in the Algerian system, with protesters calling Bouteflika and his elites or “pouvoir” to leave.
Friday marked the sixth week of protests. Algerian security services used tear gas to disperse Friday’s protests.
It is remained to be seen whether Algerians would appreciate Bouteflika’s decision to reshuffle the government.
Algerian television channel Al Nahar translated Bouteflika’s move as a preparation for resignation.
Reuters said that the President might announce his leave on Tuesday, before the original date of the postponed election, which was planned for April 18.