Middle East

Algeria opposition MP quits 'docile' parliament

A member of the Algerian security forces stands guard on a ridge looking down on the Algerian city of Ghardaia on March 18, 2014 during an operation to secure the city following sectarian clashes. (AFP PHOTO / FAROUK BATICHE)

ALGIERS: Algerian opposition MP Mostapha Bouchachi has resigned his seat, accusing parliament of becoming a "docile tool" in the hands of the regime, several media outlets reported on Wednesday.

The lawyer and former head of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights was elected in May 2012 for the Socialist Forces Front (FFS), the North African country's oldest opposition party.

Bouchachi was scathing about the People's National Assembly in his resignation letter, blaming it for the political apathy of many Algerians.

"The APN has become a docile tool in the hands of the powers that be," he said in the letter, a copy of which was posted on the website of the El Watan newspaper.

"And that encourages Algerians not to vote, to avoid endorsing institutions that perpetuate the status quo."

His comments come just weeks before a presidential election, in which ailing 77-year-old incumbent Abdelaziz Bouteflika is running for a fourth term.

Bouchachi accused the government of interfering in the work of the assembly, saying members of the executive had proposed draft laws and sat in on parliamentary committees "in violation of the internal rules of the APN."

He charged that the speaker's office had blocked 10 draft laws proposed by MPs.

He also slammed the assembly's "unjustified refusal" to set up commissions of inquiry, as requested by several political parties, to investigate corruption scandals and deadly sectarian violence rocking the desert city of Ghardaia since December.

Bouchachi said parliament had failed to provide proper oversight of government spending under the premiership of Abdelmalek Sellal, who stepped down last week to run Bouteflika's re-election campaign.

Sellal "travelled around the regions distributing money without any regulatory oversight," he said.

The FFS, which had 27 seats in parliament before Bouchachi's resignation, has said it will leave it to its supporters to decide whether or not to vote in next month's presidential election.





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