May 24, 2017 / 5:23 PM / 6 months ago

Algeria's presidency names new prime minister - state media

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria’s presidency has named former housing minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune as prime minister, replacing Abdelmalek Sellal, in a cabinet reshuffle, the state news agency APS reported on Wednesday.

APS and state radio gave no further details on any other new cabinet positions, but the shake-up had been expected after this month’s legislative elections, in which the ruling FLN party and its allies retained their majority.

The North African OPEC state is in the middle of economic reforms to cope with lower world oil prices. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 80, has rarely been seen in public since in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.

Sellal, first appointed in 2012 and then again in 2014, is an ally of Bouteflika who briefly stepped down to campaign in the president’s place during the 2014 presidential election, where Bouteflika won a fourth term.

Tebboune, a member of the FLN’s central committee, is an economist by training and has held several ministerial posts, according to APS.

As housing minister, he oversaw a state programme that provides free or cheap housing as part of a vast welfare system funded by Algeria’s energy revenues. The system also provides subsidised loans, food, electricity and gas.

The fall in oil prices has forced Algeria to start reforming the subsidy system, increasing gas and electricity prices and cutting back on public spending, and to look for new sources of revenue.

Reporting by Patrick Markey and Lamine Chikhi; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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