Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune promised Thursday evening to release dozens of prisoners of conscience, in a gesture of appeasement addressed to the popular protest movement Hirak, and decided to dissolve Parliament and call for early legislative elections.
“The ‘blessed Hirak’ saved Algeria. I decided to grant the presidential pardon to about thirty people for whom a court decision had been rendered as well as to others for whom no verdict was pronounced. Between 55 and 60 people will join their families from tonight or tomorrow, ”he said in a speech to the nation televised. Some 70 people are currently in prison in connection with Hirak and / or individual freedoms, according to the National Committee for the Liberation of Prisoners (CNLD), a support association.
Elections before the end of the year
The announcement comes on the eve of the 2nd anniversary of the unprecedented popular uprising that forced ex-strongman Abdelaziz Bouteflika to relinquish a fifth presidential term and step down. Abdelmadjid Tebboune also decided to “dissolve the National People’s Assembly (APN) to call for elections”, saying he wanted to “open its doors to the youth”. Legislative elections – scheduled for 2022 – are expected to take place by the end of the year.
The head of state also announced a cabinet reshuffle “within 48 hours at most”. “This reshuffle will concern sectors that record deficits in their management felt by citizens and ourselves,” he said. Returning a week ago from Germany, where he was being treated for post-Covid-19 complications, Tebboune had since held consultations with six political parties, including opposition groups.