The former prime minister of Algeria, Abdelmadjid Tebboune has been sworn in as the new president of Algeria. The new Algerian president Abdelmadjid Tebboune officially took office today after taking an oath at an official ceremony in Algiers.
Abdelmadjid Tebboune was sworn in after he was pronounced winner of the December 12, 2019 elections. He succeeds Tebboune succeeds Abdelaziz Bouteflika, whom he served under as prime minister for many years.
You will recall that Bouteflika was forced to resign in April by an unprecedented popular movement that has been shaking Algeria for ten months.
Abdelmadjid Tebboune won the elections, which was largely boycotted by opposition parties, whose supporters continue to carry out heated protests in different parts of the country.
As 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.
The 74-year-old is seen as close to the chief of the armed forces, Ahmed Gaid Salah, who has been the North African country's effective ruler since Bouteflika quit.
While Tebboune's period as prime minister ended with his sacking by Bouteflika, protesters see the longtime regime insider as part of the same corrupt system that has ruled Algeria since independence in 1962 -- a system they want to be dismantled.
Following his election, Tebboune vowed to "extend my hand to the Hirak (protest movement) for a dialogue", appoint young ministers and push for a new constitution.
Demonstrators responded by hitting the streets once again, calling Tebboune "illegitimate".
The protesters refer to themselves as "Hirak", or "the movement".
Official figures showed that 40 percent of voters took part on Thursday as protests and strikes paralysed some cities and towns, with Tebboune winning 58 percent of the votes.
State media presented even that low level of turnout as vindicating the decision to hold the election, though with no outside observers monitoring the vote, many Hirak supporters regarded the figures as a suspect.
"Tebboune is not my president. He doesn't represent Hirak and has no legitimacy. Protests must go on until the people become the decision-makers," said Slimane Hachoud, 24, who has been protesting since February.
"We are not against dialogue and negotiations to end the crisis, but we cannot shake Tebboune's hand if he doesn't first free the detainees," said Abdeljabar, a student protester.
Many protesters and opposition figures have been arrested or jailed since the start of the protests in February on charges including "undermining national unity" and "weakening army morale".
However, some prominent Hirak supporters urged for talks.
"Now that the generals have a civilian representative in the person of Abdelmadjid Tebboune, we must negotiate the transition to the rule of law with him," said Lahouari Addi, a political science professor.
"Hirak must initiate and offer names with a list of demands," said Lies Merabet, a labour union leader, on Facebook.
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