New Cabinet Named, Elections Plans Begin
Jun. 18, 1991
ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ The prime minister named a new Cabinet today, including a newly created human rights post, to lead Algeria out of a state of emergency and prepare for the country's first multiparty parliamentary vote.
The appointment of two women to the Cabinet represents a direct challenge to Muslim fundamentalists whose protest campaign led to violence and to the June 5 state of emergency decree.
The fundamentalists believe women should stay at home and not hold important jobs that put them in the public eye.
Leila Aslaoui, a judge and women's rights activist, was named minister of youth and sports; Nafissa Lalliam, a professor of medicine, was appointed health minister.
The 29-member Cabinet named by Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali includes six members of the previous government, the official APS news agency reported.
There was no immediate reaction from the fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front, the leading opposition party, or the dozens of other parties that have formed since Algeria instituted a multiparty system two years ago.
The main task of the new Cabinet is to prepare for parliamentary elections to be held by year's end. The elections were scheduled for June 27, but canceled after riots in which at least 18 people were killed.
A presidential election will follow the parliamentary vote, the country's first among competing parties since it gained independence from France in 1962.
No dates have been set for either election.
The National Liberation Front, the only legal party until 1989, has until now held all parliamentary seats.
In declaring the four-month state of emergency on June 5, President Chadli Bendjedid dismissed the government of Premier Mouloud Hamrouche, postponed the parliamentary vote and agreed to the Islamic Front's demand for early presidential elections.
Named to the key post of interior minister was Abellatif Rahal, Algeria's first ambassador to France. With no formal political alliances, he will have a major role in preparing the elections.
Gen. Khaled Nezzar remains as defense minister. The deputy secretary- general of the Arab League, Lakhdar Brahimi, becomes foreign minister, succeeding Ghozali.
The important energy ministry is to be headed by Nourredine Ait Lahoussine, another newcomer.
A lawyer, Ali Haroun, was named to the new post of deputy minister for human rights.
Unofficial sources say dozens of people died following a strike and protests by the Islamic Front to press for early presidential elections and changes in election laws that would favor the ruling party.
While trying to assure free elections, Ghozali and his Cabinet are likely to try to rally diverse opposition parties to form alliances against the fundamentalists.
The Islamic Front won municipal and local elections one year ago in Algeria's first multiparty vote.