x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Algeria president names close ally as prime minister

Abdelaziz Bouteflika appointed Abdelmalek Sellal late last night.

ALGIERS // Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the Algeria president, has named a close ally as prime minister after his party dominated recent parliamentary elections.

Mr Bouteflika appointed Abdelmalek Sellal late last night.

Mr Sellal had run several campaigns for the president and was the north African nation's water minister. Mr Sellal replaces Ahmed Ouyahia, who was from a different party that was allied to Bouteflika's FLN.

There have been suggestions that Mr Ouyahia's close relationship with Algeria's powerful generals could make him a rival to Mr Bouteflika. Mr Ouyahia is expected to run for president against the FLN candidate in 2014.

In choosing Mr Sellal, the president may be looking to consolidate his power after his party's surprise victory in May's parliamentary elections.

The Islamist parties had been expected to do better. Many have prospered in elections around the region following the Arab Spring.