Who is Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Algeria’s new president?

Who is Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Algeria’s new president?
Who is Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Algeria’s new president?

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Algeria’s new president Abdelmajid Tebboune is no stranger to high office, despite never standing for election until 2019.

The 74-year-old has spent decades at the heart of successive governments headed by ousted former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

He began his career in local administration before becoming a regional governor during one-party rule by the National Liberation Front (FLN) in the 1980s.

In 1991 Mr Tebboune briefly served in the cabinet of then-president Chadli Bendjedid, but then left the political scene. He returned to serve as Bouteflika’s communications minister in 1999, taking on a string of other posts from then on.

He left office in 2002, only returning to government a decade later and finally became Bouteflika's prime minister in 2017.

Mr Tebboune was to be the shortest-serving prime minister in Algeria's history, finding himself ousted after three months for criticising members of the country’s elite who cosied up to politicians to receive public contracts. Many of those he attacked are now either sentenced or awaiting trial on graft charges.

Sporting a thin moustache and smoking "even in non-smoking areas", he is not known for his charisma or public speaking skills, a former associate said.

Mr Tebboune is the first Algerian president not to enjoy the prestige of having fought in the 1954-1962 war for independence from France.

During his election campaign, Mr Tebboune his short tenure as prime minister to distance himself from Bouteflika's rule.

But controversy has also hit close to home.

One of Mr Tebboune's sons is in pre-trial detention over alleged influence-peddling involving several senior officials, exposed after the seizure of 700 kilogrammes of cocaine at an Algerian port in May 2018.

The incoming president is married and has another son and two daughters.

He is rumoured to be close to army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, who became Algeria's de facto ruler following Bouteflika's resignation.

Updated: December 14, 2019 07:49 PM

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