After more than eight months without a leader, Algeria on Thursday inaugurated its new president, Abdelkader Tebboune at a pomp-filled ceremony which pro-democracy protesters have rejected as a charade.
Members of the North African nation’s governing elite are hoping that Tebboune’s inauguration allows the gas-rich country to quench the 10 months of protests which have put their legitimacy to lead in doubt and stalled the economy.
Uniformed officers from the four branches of Algeria’s powerful military saluted Tebboune as he arrived at the presidential palace in Algiers, the country’s capital for his inauguration.
After a reading from the Quran, the head of the Constitutional Council pronounced Tebboune as the winner of last week’s presidential election held across the country.
The new president was thereafter decorated with the National Merit Award as a military band played the Algerian national anthem.
In his inaugural speech, Tebboune praised the protest movement which successfully ousted the country’s president of two decades, Abdelaziz Bouteflik, from office in April.
He also pledged to reach out to the Hirak movement protesters and to fight corruption which is seen a major problem in Africa’s biggest country.
The 74-year-old former Prime Minister who is considered to be close to Algeria’s powerful army chief was declared elected with 58 percent of the vote in an election boycotted by members of the country’s peaceful protest movement because it was organized by the political elite.
Algeria remains a key ally of Western powers fighting terrorism in the region, attested to by the foreign dignitaries who attended Thursday’s inauguration held at the presidential palace in Algiers.