Algeria MPs padlock parliament in protest against speaker

2018-10-16 20:24
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Around 200 deputies kept Algeria's parliament locked up for several hours on Tuesday in a protest action to press demands for the house speaker to step down.

"We're here to demand the speaker resigns," Abdelhamid Si Affif, the head of parliament's foreign affairs committee, told AFP after the protesters blocked the entrance with a chain and padlock.

Said Bouhadja, president of Algeria's lower house, has since late September resisted calls to resign over charges of "mismanagement, exaggerated and illicit expenses and dubious recruitment".

"This doesn't scare me. I will go to the People's National Assembly (parliament) because I am the president of this institution," Bouhadja told the TSA news website.

He did not, however, make an appearance at Tuesday's protest, which lasted until around midday before the deputies dispersed.

Algeria's constitution and laws do not lay down a procedure for the dismissal of a parliament speaker if he refuses to step aside.

Opposition groups condemned Tuesday's action led by the majority parties in the 462-member parliament, including President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's National Liberation Front (FLN) of which the speaker is a member.

Ahmed Sadok, parliamentary head of the Movement for the Society of Peace, an Islamist group, said the action "did no honour for the deputies, for parliament or the image of the country".

"If the deputies of the majority no longer want to work with Mr Bouhadja... their action must be legal. For the moment, there is nothing to prevent him carrying out his duties," he said.

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