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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 January, 2004, 21:48 GMT
Algeria 'needs interim government'
Algerian riot police guard the parliament building
Police recently clashed with opposition supporters in Algiers
Opposition parties in Algeria have called for the formation of an interim government ahead of the country's elections due in April.

In a statement signed by prominent politicians including former Prime Minister Ali Benflis, they said the present government was not impartial.

They also called for an independent body to supervise the elections.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has yet to declare whether he will seek another term in office.

Powerbroker

The statement was signed by 11 members of the opposition parties.

It accuses the incumbent Prime Minister, Ahmed Ouyahyia, of supporting President Bouteflika and alleges that he cannot be trusted to be fair.

It also calls for security guarantees for those who will support opposition candidates at the April elections.

The BBC's Mohammed Areski Himuer in Algiers says that although a new law was recently passed to abolish the special vote for the armed forces, only a few people are taking their promise to remain neutral seriously.

The army has always been a crucial powerbroker in Algerian politics.

Algeria's ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) is divided between a faction supporting Mr Bouteflika and another backing Mr Benflis, who was sacked last May.

Mr Bouteflika was elected in 1999 after six candidates pulled out of the race just before the vote, in protest at alleged fraud.

Mr Benflis is seeking to be elected president at the forthcoming elections.




SEE ALSO:
Call for Algerian leader to go
05 Jan 04  |  Africa
Algerian PM sacked
06 May 03  |  Africa
Timeline: Algeria
03 Mar 03  |  Country profiles


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