October 24, 2018 / 3:17 PM / a month ago

Algerian lawmakers oust parliament speaker, elect youthful replacement

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria’s governing coalition elected a relatively youthful new parliamentary speaker on Wednesday to replace Said Bouhadja whom it accused of mismanagement.

The new speaker, Mouad Bouchared, is aged 47 - unusually young for a country where many senior officials are in their 70s and above.

His election may be a sign that the ruling National Liberation Front seeks to rejuvenate a political elite which is dominated by figures from the war of independence against France which ended in 1962.

Lawmakers of the FLN and its coalition partner, the Democratic National Rally, accused Bouhadja, who is around 80, of mismanagement in the job of speaker.

But opposition lawmakers boycotted the parliamentary session in solidarity with Bouhadja who described his ousting as illegal and was quoted by the private Echorouk TV channel as saying: “I will not resign.”

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s office did not comment.

Bouteflika, 81, who has rarely been seen in public since he suffered a stroke in 2013, has not yet said whether he will seek a fifth term in next April’s election but his supporters have repeatedly urged him to stand.

Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed and Lamine Chikhi; Editing by Ulf Laessing, Richard Balmforth

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