|Date: Jan 3, 2020|
|Source: The Daily Star|
|Algeria appoints new government amid worst political crisis in decades|
ALGIERS: Algeria has appointed a new government, state television said Thursday, as the country faces its biggest political crisis in decades and a raft of economic problems caused by falling energy revenues.
The list of cabinet ministers appointed by President Abdelmajdid Tebboune, who was elected last month, and Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad, appointed Saturday, was not immediately released.
Mass protests that broke out in February succeeded in unseating veteran president Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April. An election to replace him was postponed twice as protesters said it would be illegitimate while the ruling elite stayed in place.
Tebboune was elected last month in a vote that the protest movement rejected, winning 58 percent on a turnout officially registered as 40 percent.
He has offered dialogue with the protesters but the leaderless movement has continued to stage demonstrations since his election.
Algeria, a major energy exporter, depends on its oil and gas sales for 60 percent of government revenue. However, sales have fallen since oil prices began to drop in 2014 and Algeria's foreign currency reserves have more than halved since then.
A state budget agreed by the interim government and parliament late last year included new laws aimed at increasing foreign investment but pledged 9 percent cuts in public spending.
The interim government appointed a new head of state energy producer Sonatrach, Kamel Edine Chikhi, and a new central bank governor, Benabderahmane Ayman, in November.
The parliament also approved a new energy law that would make international investment in oil and gas more attractive in order to arrest declining output, while still keeping a bar on majority foreign ownership of projects in the sector.