Algerian army: We refuse to be involved in political conflicts

Ahmed_Gaid_Salah
Algeria’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Defence Minister, Ahmed Gaid Salah

Algerian Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaid Salah responded to an invitation from an Islamist party to praise what it called a democratic transition in the country, Thursday, by saying that the military knows the limits of its constitutional duties and cannot be involved in political conflicts.

The head of the Movement of Society for Peace (the most prominent Islamic party in Algeria), Abderrazak Makri, had announced the launch of an initiative of national consensus, focusing on, what he called several political, economic and social crises.

In some statements, Makri called on the military to play the role of guarantor for the success of what he calls a smooth and democratic transition in the country. His statements sparked political controversy.

According to Salah stressed that the army receives directives from the President of the Republic, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Minister of National Defence, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

He explained that the army does not and will not tolerate any violation of this rule as it could lead to chaos.

He vowed to confront all those who allow themselves to expose the homeland to chaos and conspirators, without naming them.

This firm tone of the Army Chief of Staff, who is also Deputy Defence Minister, is unprecedented in the military establishment in Algeria.

It came at a stage when the country is preparing for the presidential elections next year.

Algeria has endured severe political clashes around elections, especially the presidential vote.

This year is the last of the fourth term of President Bouteflika, 81. He came to power in 1999, and the next presidential election is likely to be held in April or May 2019.

The Algerian president has not yet announced his candidacy for a fifth term.