Algeria's presidency unveils new government

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Abdelmadjid Tebboune (Picture: AFP)
Abdelmadjid Tebboune (Picture: AFP)

Newly-elected Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune formed his government on Thursday, two weeks after he took office following a controversial election, his spokesman said.

Tebboune's cabinet is composed of 39 members, whose names were announced by the spokesman on state TV live from the presidency, in a departure from the usual procedure of naming a government in a statement.

Tebboune was elected last month in a poll marred by an official turnout of less than 40%, with a months-long protest movement boycotting a vote they saw as a ploy by the establishment to consolidate its power.

The unprecedented movement forced longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down in April.

Reflecting a strong degree of continuity, Tebboune filled four of five key posts with players who figured in a reshuffled administration unveiled just two days before Bouteflika was forced out.

READ | Algeria's anti-election protesters keep up the pressure

Sabri Boukadoum will keep the foreign ministry portfolio, while former Kamel Beldjoud will be interior minister.

Beldjoud held the post of housing minister under Bouteflika's last prime minister, Noureddine Bedoui, who himself remained in place after the veteran president's April departure.

Beldjoud had already taken the interior ministry on an interim basis when his predecessor was fired on December 19.

Belkacem Zeghmati remains the justice minister, while Mohamed Arkab retains the energy portfolio, in a country with significant hydrocarbons.

ALSO READ | Algerians flood streets to protest against December polls

Abderrahmane Raouya was named as finance minister, having held this post between 2017 and early 2019, under Bedoui's predecessor.

Five women were appointed to government positions.

Tebboune himself served as a prime minister under Bouteflika.

The president traditionally also serves as defence minister in Algeria.

Tebboune named 65-year-old Abdelaziz Djerad, who holds a Ph.D in political science and served as foreign minister between 2001 and 2003, as his prime minister on December 28.

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