ALGIERS: Thirteen independent Algerian unions have refused to back the newly-appointed prime minister’s efforts to form a government he hopes will placate protesters who are pressuring President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his inner circle to step down.
“We will not hold discussions with this system, we belong to the people and the people said ‘No’ to the system,” Boualem Amora, one of the leaders of the education sector unions, told reporters.
Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui has promised to create an inclusive government of technocrats in a country dominated by veterans of the 1954-1962 war of independence against France, as well as the military and business tycoons.
Union leaders said they refused to enter a dialogue when he reached out to them.
Meanwhile, Algeria’s newly-appointed Deputy Prime Minister Ramtane Lamamra is expected to visit several countries including Russia, China, and some EU nations to explain the crisis in Algeria, a foreign ministry official said.
Algerians, who have been demonstrating for more than three weeks, have rejected overtures by Bouteflika, who has reversed a decision to stand for another term after 20 years in power.
The ailing president stopped short of relinquishing office and said he would stay on until a new constitution is adopted — in effect extending his fourth term in office and meaning he is likely to stay in power for some time.