Algeria appoints new government as the country faces its biggest political crisis in decades

Reuters , Ahram Online , Thursday 2 Jan 2020

Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad (AFP)
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad (AFP)

Algeria appoints new government, State TV reported Thursday, keeping in place, Sabri Boukadoum as Foreign minister, Mohamed Arkab as Energy minister and Kamel Beldjoud as Interior minister.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on last Saturday named the university professor and former diplomat, Abdelaziz Djerad, 65, as prime minister as he builds a new government to handle political unrest and economic challenges.

The list of cabinet ministers appointed was not released yet but Abderrahmane Raouia was announced as Finance Minister in the new cabinet.

Tebboune was elected last month in a vote that the protest movement rejected, winning 58% on a turnout officially registered as 40%.

He has offered dialogue with the protesters but the leaderless movement has continued to stage demonstrations since his election.

Algeria, a major energy exporter, depends on its oil and gas sales for 60% of government revenue. However, sales have fallen since oil prices began to drop in 2014 and Algeria's foreign currency reserves have more than halved since then.

A state budget agreed by the interim government and parliament late last year included new laws aimed at increasing foreign investment but pledged 9% cuts in public spending.

The interim government appointed a new head of state energy producer Sonatrach, Kamel Edine Chikhi, and a new central bank governor, Benabderahmane Ayman, in November.

The parliament also approved a new energy law that would make international investment in oil and gas more attractive in order to arrest declining output, while still keeping a bar on majority foreign ownership of projects in the sector.

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