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Algeria's newly elected president names a prime minister

Protesters take to the streets in the capital Algiers to reject the presidential elections and protest against the government, in Algeria, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Toufik Doudou)
Protesters take to the streets in the capital Algiers to reject the presidential elections and protest against the government, in Algeria, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Toufik Doudou) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ALGIERS – Algeria's newly elected president reached beyond the political class Saturday to name educator and diplomat Abdelaziz Djerad as prime minister. Djerad said his top challenge is “recovering confidence in our society,” the official APS news agency reported.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune charged him with forming a new government, a delicate task in this North African nation divided since the emergence early this year of a pro-democracy movement that boycotted his Dec. 12 election after forcing out predecessor Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

In his first public statement, Djerad, 65, stressed the need to work together to meet “social-economic challenges and pull ourselves out of this delicate period.”

The gas-rich nation's economy has suffered during this year's developments, and Tebboune, 74, has not had a smooth transition into office.

Algeria's powerful army chief, Ahmed Gaid Salah, who helped to push Bouteflika from power and pressed for elections, died of a heart attack days after Tebboune's inauguration.

Tebboune, widely viewed as the favorite candidate of the military, was discredited in the eyes of the pro-democracy movement for his brief period as prime minister. He was forced out by Bouteflika's brother Said, a special presidential councillor who was recently convicted for corruption along with two former prime ministers and two powerful intelligence chiefs.