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Algerian interim President Abdelkader Bensalah on Tuesday said his top mission is working to overcome the current political crisis and pave way for the election of a new president as soon as possible.

Algeria’s state run and private media broadcasted the first speech of Bensalah to the nation as he hailed both the people and the security forces who behaved responsibly and professionally during the mass protest marches across the country since Feb. 22 as no big violent acts have been reported so far. He also thanked the support of the military institution while “sticking to the Constitution as the only passage to overcome the current political crisis.”

He described the current situation as “crucial turning point in the history of Algeria,” stressing that his top mission is “guaranteeing power transition to a democratically elected president within 3 months in free and fair election as stipulated by the Constitution.” “An independent and free commission for preparing the presidential election will be established soon as it is should be composed of a group of independent personalities,” he noted.

The interim president further called for “working collectively with all parties to draw up adequate laws that frame this commission, and thus set up the cornerstone of a new Algeria.” He concluded by calling Algerians to remain calm and serene ahead of choosing their new president. Bensalah is a senior official at the second ruling party of National Democratic Rally (RND) and Speaker of the Council of the Nation (upper house of parliament). He was named earlier on Tuesday interim president to run the transition era after the resignation of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika last week.

The appointment of Bensalah as interim president was proceeded through a joint session of the two houses of parliament amid the boycott of the opposition and independent members of parliament. Abdelkader Bensalah, 76, should assure the post of interim president for a period of 3 months ahead of electing a new president, in accordance to Article 102 of the Constitution.

The two ruling parties of the National Liberation Front (FLN) and the RND control the majority of seats in both houses of parliament, which facilitated naming Bensalah interim president despite objection of the opposition parties. According to the constitution, the head of state (interim president) is not entitled to dismiss the government or dissolve the parliament, or even declaring a state of emergency, state of siege or war.

When the session of naming Bensalah as interim president was taking place, Algerian students in the capital city of Algiers and several other provinces took to the streets as they chanted slogans calling Bensalah to quit. Activists on social media called for another massive march on Friday to reject the naming of Bensalah.Bouteflika resigned from presidency on April 2 after mass popular protests erupted across the country since Feb. 22 demanding the departure of incumbent system.

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