New Algerian Cabinet Includes Two Women, Human Rights Deputy
ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali named a Cabinet on Tuesday to lead Algeria from a state of emergency to its first democratic parliamentary elections.
The 29-member body includes two women. Their appointments represent a challenge to Muslim fundamentalists whose protests triggered deadly violence and the state-of-emergency decree.
The Cabinet also has a deputy minister for human rights - lawyer Ali Haroun, a member of a human rights defense league.
The governing National Liberation Front, Algeria’s sole legal political party for nearly three decades, received eight Cabinet posts.
The naming of the Cabinet prompted no immediate reaction from the fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front or the dozens of other parties formed in the two years since Algeria allowed them to operate.
The Cabinet will prepare for parliamentary elections to be held by year’s end. Presidential elections will follow the legislative vote.
President Chadli Bendjedid dismissed the previous Cabinet on June 5 and declared a four-month state of emergency. He also postponed parliamentary elections - which had been set for June 27 - and agreed to a Salvation Front demand for early presidential elections.
Leila Aslaoui, a judge and women’s rights activist, was named minister for youth and sports, a sensitive post in this country where 75 percent of the population is under 30 and the ranks of disaffected youth feed the fundamentalist movement.
Another woman, Nafissa Lalliam, a doctor and professor, was named health minister.
Abellatif Rahal, Algeria’s first ambassador to France, was named interior minister, and will have a major role in preparing for the elections. Gen. Khaled Nezzar will remain as defense minister.
The deputy secretary-general of the Arab League, Lakhdar Brahimi, will become foreign minister, succeeding Ghozali. The energy ministry is to be headed by Nourredine Ait Lahoussine.
The Salvation Front began its protest campaign May 25 to press for early elections and abrogation of electoral laws favoring the government. The worst violence occurred June 4, when tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Algiers. The government said at least 18 people died, but sources said dozens of people were killed.
The Salvation Front won municipal and local elections a year ago in Algeria’s first multiparty vote.