FILE PHOTO: A demonstrator holds a placard during an anti-government rally in Algiers, Algeria December 31, 2019. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina/
ALGIERS (Reuters) – Algeria has appointed a new government, state television said on Thursday, as the country faces its biggest political crisis in decades and a raft of economic problems caused by falling energy revenues.
The list of cabinet ministers appointed by President Abdelmajdid Tebboune, who was elected last month, and Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad, appointed on Saturday, was not immediately released.
Mass protests that broke out in February succeeded in unseating veteran president Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April. An election to replace him was postponed twice as protesters said it would be illegitimate while the ruling elite stayed in place.
Tebboune was elected last month in a vote that the protest movement rejected, winning 58% on a turnout officially registered as 40%.
He has offered dialogue with the protesters but the leaderless movement has continued to stage demonstrations since his election.
Algeria, a major energy exporter, depends on its oil and gas sales for 60% of government revenue. However, sales have fallen since oil prices began to drop in 2014 and Algeria’s foreign currency reserves have more than halved since then.
A state budget agreed by the interim government and parliament late last year included new laws aimed at increasing foreign investment but pledged 9% cuts in public spending.
The interim government appointed a new head of state energy producer Sonatrach, Kamel Edine Chikhi, and a new central bank governor, Benabderahmane Ayman, in November.
The parliament also approved a new energy law that would make international investment in oil and gas more attractive in order to arrest declining output, while still keeping a bar on majority foreign ownership of projects in the sector.
Reporting By Lamine Chikhi; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Giles Elgood