Don’t be too happy, “new” in the title is very relative. The APS has just published the president’s communiqué announcing a small “cabinet reshuffle”. This new government has been expected for many weeks, and many rumours circulated on who would be in and who would be out.
Obviously, it is a very small reshuffle and there is little to talk about or analyse. Bouteflika has often declared that there are not many men in Algeria whom he trusts and thinks are up for a minister position. Ahmed Ouyahia remains our Prime Minister but will be assisted by a newly appointed Vice-Prime Minister, promoted-Yazid Zerhouni. To be honest, I am not sure Zerhouni is there to help Ouyahia, and I don’t even know what’s the official role of a Vice-Prime minister. Perhaps someone or time will help me understand. Zerhouni’s former position in the interior ministry is taken by Ould Kablia, who got promoted as well. But this appointment doesn’t change anything as Ould Kablia, former member of the MALG, was already in the ministry.
Other important ministers such as Sellal (rumours said he’d be the minister of interior as a reward for successfully directing Bouteflika’s 2009 campaign), Medelsi, Djoudi or Ghoul stay in their positions too.
You probably noticed the absence of Bouteflika’s other close ministers, Temmar and Khelil. The latter has been dismissed; probably paying for the recent Sonatrach scandals. The new minister of energy and mines, Youcef Yousfi, has been a minister many times in the past, and even held this very position (during Zeroual‘s presidency) before he became Algeria’s representative at the UN (he then moved back to the foreign affairs ministry). This may be considered as good news. Temmar, on the other hand, stays in the government but loses his industry and investment ministry (replaced by a newcomer, Mohamed Benmeradi), and becomes minister of prospective planning and statistics assisted on the statistics part by a secretary of state (Ali Boukrami).
Bessalah didn’t last long and is replaced by Moussa Benhamadi, former CEO of Algérie Télécom, as the minister of telecommunications.
A secretary in charge of national community abroad was created and attached to the foreign affairs ministry. This will probably push the council Bouteflika is forming to represent the Algerian community abroad. And Ould Abbas is not the secretary of state as he became minister of health… Bad news if you ask me. And another bad news is the fact Benbouzid is still in the government.
Despite the noticeable changes I mentioned above, the Algerian saying “Moussa El Hadj, El Hadj Moussa” probably remains the best comment to make on this reshuffle.