Abdelmadjid Tebboune

Algeria swore in Abdelmadjid Tebboune as the new president on Thursday while the country's protest movement debates its response to his offer of dialogue to end a months-long political crisis.

Iran Press/Africa: Abdelmajid Tebboune, the former prime minister who casts himself as a reformer and won a widely boycotted election is the first president who did not participate in the War of Independence. Official figures showed 40% of voters took part in Thursday's presidential election as protests and strikes paralyzed some cities and towns, with Tebboune winning 58% of votes.

According to Reuters, the 74-year-old President is seen as a close ally to the chief of the armed forces, Ahmed Gaid Salah, who has been the North African country's effective ruler since former president Abdul Aziz Bouteflika quit.

He and other top brass attended the swearing-in ceremony alongside Tebboune's defeated rivals for the presidency.

President Tebboune must now address the grievances of the protesters, who have remained on the streets to prevent what they see as a ploy by the political elite to retain its hold on power. Though the President Tebboune vowed to "extend my hand to the Hirak (protest movement) for a dialogue" following his election and appointed young ministers and push for a new constitution, the demonstrators responded by hitting the streets once again, calling Tebboune "illegitimate".

Algeria is heavily dependent on oil exports and its budget has been hard hit by low crude prices, which could force Tebboune to take unpopular decisions.

His predecessor, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced to step down and quit as president in April in the face of mass demonstrations against his rule. 


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