December 19, 2019 / 10:20 AM / a month ago

Factbox: Who's who in Algeria's political crisis

(Reuters) - Algeria swore in its new president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, on Thursday, a week after an election that was rejected by a mass protest movement as a charade designed to keep the old ruling elite in power.

Pro-government supporters carry a banner depicting Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah during a demonstration rejecting foreign interference and in favour of a coming presidential election in Algiers, Algeria November 30, 2019. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

These are some of the main players.

THE ARMY

Algeria’s army chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah has become the most powerful figure in Algeria this year.

Born in 1940, he fought in Algeria’s war of independence from France and cemented his role as a top general in the 1990s civil war, before then president Abdelaziz Bouteflika named him army chief in 2004.

Though the military has long been at the centre of the Algerian state, it has used the protests to purge rival factions including the once all-powerful internal security department.

THE OPPOSITION

The protest movement emerged in the spring as hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated when it became clear Bouteflika would seek a fifth term.

Known as the Hirak - Arabic for ‘movement’ - the protesters have no formal leadership and organise themselves through discussions on social media.

They demand that the old guard give up power, an end to corruption, and that the military quit politics. They reject any election while the old guard retains power as meaningless.

THE NEW PRESIDENT

Abdelmadjid Tebboune, once a close Bouteflika ally, was prime minister for less than three months in 2017 but was sacked when he tried to take on powerful business figures accused of corruption.

The four other candidates in the election approved by state authorities were all former senior officials including another former prime minister, two former ministers, and a former member of the ruling party’s executive committee.

THE OUSTED OLD GUARD

Bouteflika, also a veteran of Algeria’s war of independence, helped end the 1990s conflict between the state and Islamist militants and was made president in 1999.

After he was pushed from power in April, his brother and de facto regent Said Bouteflika was sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiring against the army.

Their main rival in the power structure, internal security chief Mohamed Mediene, was jailed alongside him.

While many other Bouteflika allies are also on trial or in prison, some of his network retain powerful positions, including interim president Abdelkadar Bensalah and prime minister Noureddine Bedoui.

Reporting By Angus McDowall; editing by Nick Macfie

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