Lakhdar Brahimi, the former foreign minister who is expected to steer Algeria’s political transition after mass protests, has won respect from foreign leaders and his country’s political elite during his long career. But his appointment may not go down well with protesters demanding rapid change, reported Reuters.
At 85, Brahimi is three years older than President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and from the same generation that has presided over Algerian politics since the 1954-62 war of independence against France.
Bouteflika yielded to the protests on Monday by postponing elections and dropping plans to stand for a fifth term. Brahimi is now likely to chair a conference planning Algeria’s future, a government source said.
Brahimi, a veteran diplomat, has carried out troubleshooting missions for the UN across several regions and mediated on some of the Middle East’s thorniest conflicts. Though not directly or publicly involved in national politics, he is a heavyweight of Algeria’s establishment, long viewed as a possible presidential candidate. He is close to Bouteflika, reported Reuters.
“The voice of the people has been heard,” Brahimi said on state television after Bouteflika’s announcement that he would not seek a new term.
Bouteflika said his own final act will be to usher in a new system that will be in “the hands of a new generation of Algerians.”
The “inclusive and independent” national conference that Brahimi is expected to head is tasked with drafting a new constitution and setting a date for elections by the end of 2019.
It is likely to include prominent war veterans as well as representatives of the protest movement, which has brought tens of thousands of people on to the streets since last month, political sources said.
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