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Algeria's parliamentary speaker 'locked out' of building in protest

Said Bouhadja got locked out of Algeria's parliament [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 October, 2018

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MPs used a chain and padlock to keep Algeria's parliamentary speaker out of the building, as pressure on him to resign continues to mount.

About 200 deputies locked up Algeria's parliament with a chain and padlock for several hours on Tuesday to call for the parliamentary speaker to resign. 

"We're here to demand the speaker resigns," Abdelhamid Si Affif, the head of parliament's foreign affairs committee, told AFP after protesters sealed off the entrance.

Said Bouhadja, president of Algeria's lower house, has since late September resisted calls to resign over charges of "mismanagement, exaggerated and illicit expenses and dubious recruitment".

"This doesn't scare me. I will go to the People's National Assembly (parliament) because I am the president of this institution," Bouhadja told the TSA news website. 

Bouhadja told Asharq al-Awsat earlier his month that political opponents had demanded his resignation, but that the presidency and its close inner circles wanted him to stay on.

“I informed them that I must be convinced that I committed major errors in order to resign or I should receive a message or telephone call from the president himself to step down,” he said.

Criticism of Bouhadja mounted after he sacked the secretary general of parliament without consulting the majority of lawmakers. 

Critics have also charged Bouhadja with wasting funds and appointing close friends and colleagues to top posts based on their personal relations with him. 

Bouhadja did not make an appearance at Tuesday's protest, which lasted until around midday before the deputies dispersed.

Algeria's constitution and laws do not lay down a procedure for the dismissal of a parliament speaker if he refuses to step aside.

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