Algerian president Bouteflika announces new gov't amid protests

Algerian president Bouteflika announces new gov't amid protests

The reports by Ennahar and El Bilad TV channels came on Sunday, a day after Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaid Salah renewed his call for the application of a provision in the Algerian constitution that could remove the president on account of his failing health.

Algerian authorities has on Sunday expelled a Reuters journalist after he was detained allegedly for covering a mass protest in the country against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Members of Bouteflika's own National Liberation Front party have pressed to have him removed in recent weeks, as massive street protests calling for him to step down stretched into a second month and opposition politicians calls for a resignation became louder. He also postponed the April 18 elections.

According to reports, Sabri Boukadoum had been appointed foreign minister, replacing Ramtane Lamamra who had taken up the post earlier this month.

Central bank Governor Mohamed Loukal was named as finance minister, while the former head of the state power and gas utility Mohamed Arkab will be energy minister, APS said.

The 82-year-old president has been in public rarely since he suffered a stroke in 2013.

Millions of Algerians have been holding weekly protests nationwide to demand that Bouteflika leave office along with his cadre of loyalists.

The cabinet is composed of 27 ministers; 21 did not hold ministerial posts in the previous government. Bouteflika kept his title as defense minister.

Speaking in support of the army's initiative, former prime minister Ali Bengalis said: "The merit of this approach is that it responds to a pressing popular demand".

"We must adopt a solution that helps us out of this crisis ... a solution that respects and adheres to the constitution so that it's a suitable one for all sides", Salah, who is also the deputy defence minister, said in a televised address on Tuesday.

Addressing an Arab League summit in Tunis, Antonio Guterres said any steps should be made in a way "that addresses the concerns of the Algerian people in a timely way".

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