Former Algerian PM says army will not use force against demonstrators

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Opposition politician, former Prime Minister of Algeria, Ali Benflis believes that the army and law enforcement agencies of the country will not use force against the protesters, stated in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche, published on Sunday.

“There will be no repression, because it is impossible to resist this popular upsurge,” he said. According to him, “children, brothers, sisters and parents” of some soldiers and policemen “also participate in demonstrations” that swept the country after the ruling coalition put forward the head of state Abdelaziz Bouteflika in February for the fifth presidential term. “When gendarmes or police look at the demonstrators, they smile at each other. People throw roses from the balconies,” the politician said.

Benflis also stressed that the system on which the power of 82-year-old Bouteflika is based is “broken and broken.” He recalled that the autonomous trade unions of the country are on the side of the protesters. “There are resignations within the [ruling] Party, the Front for National Liberation,” added Benflis.

According to the politician, in order for the country to recover from the crisis, “it is necessary to postpone [the scheduled April 18] presidential elections.” He also once again pointed out that Bouteflika (practically not appearing in public after suffering a severe stroke in 2013) should withdraw his candidacy.

Ali Benflis, a lawyer by education, former head of the Ministry of Justice and Prime Minister (2000-2003), is considered one of the most influential opposition politicians in Algeria. He ran in 2004 and 2014 for the presidency. In 2015, Benflis founded and headed the party “Talai al-Hurriyat”.

He was named among the most serious rivals of Bouteflika in the presidential election of this year. However, on March 3, he announced his refusal to participate in them. Most of the other candidates for the top job also refused to run.

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