Algeria’s president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, has on Thursday, dissolved the country’s lower chamber of parliament, National People’s Assembly, and called for an early legislative election.
The president made this decision after a series of meetings with heads of parties, including Belaid, and Abdelkader Bengrina, head of the National Building Movement and former minister and candidate in the presidential elections, which Tebboune won.
In a broadcast on the state television, Tebboune said a government reshuffle would take place within 48 hours. He also pardoned several activists that were jailed during the Hirak protest.
He said, “I decided to dissolve the current National People’s Assembly, and to pass directly to elections free of corrupt money and open to youth. The ministerial reshuffle will include sectors that have experienced a lack of performance of their tasks.”
The president also announced that within 15 or 20 days, there will be final texts for the installation of the Higher Council for Youth.
Algeria’s government has had several challenges to deal with even as the COVID-19 pandemic adds to the woes of the economy.
The CNLD prisoners’ support group had earlier revealed that around 70 people are currently in prison over their links with the Hirak movement or other peaceful opposition political activity.
The president’s speech coincided with the Day of the Martyr, which commemorates those who fought and died in the North African nation’s resistance movement against French colonialism.
The speech also coincided with renewed calls for demonstrations to mark the second anniversary of popular protests that ended the 20-year rule of Tebboune’s predecessor, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
President Tebboune was elected on record low turnout in a December 2019 poll boycotted by the Hirak, spent a total of three months in Germany since October, receiving treatment for COVID-19.
But he returned home last Friday after undergoing surgery to his foot, following post-COVID complications.