NOURNEWS - The former Algerian Head of State Abdelkader Bensalah died, on Wednesday dawn, at the age of 79 following a long illness.
The Presidency of the Republic said, in a statement, that the funeral of the late Bensalah will take place Thursday, Sept. 23 after the noon prayer.
To this end, President of the Republic Abdelmadjid Tebboune has ordered flags to be flown at half-mast throughout the country for three days, starting from, Wednesday, Sep 22nd, 2021 according to a communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic.
"He never said no when he was asked for a mission for the benefit of the State" reported one of Abdelkader Bensalah's relatives, in April 2019. It was the day after Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned from his functions as President of the Republic.
Article 102 (6) of the Constitution stipulates that "the Speaker of the Council of the Nation assumes the office of Head of State for a period of up to 90 days, during which presidential elections are held" . Subsequently, Mr. Bensalah became Head of State. Weakened, at the time, by cancer, it was difficult for Abdelkader Bensalah to shoulder such a heavy burdens in a complex political environment.
Yet the man did not shy away from his obligations. He administered the day-to-day affairs of the country for almost nine months, until the election of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on December 12, 2019.
He, then, refused to take over the presidency of Council of Nation and withdrew from public life for good.
Born in the north-western province of Tlemcen on November 24, 1941, the late Bensalah has held several prominent posts. In 1959, he joined the national liberation army at the age of 18 during the glorious war of independence against France.
He worked as a journalist and held the position of the publishing director of the Arabic-speaking Al-Shaab daily newspaper before becoming a lawmaker and a diplomat at the Algerian embassy in Egypt and Lebanon from 1974 to 1977.
The late was, later, elected deputy from 1977 to 1989. He chaired the lower house's foreign affairs committee for 10 years and became a foreign ministry spokesman.
He was appointed Algerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia until 1993. Recalled to the country, the HSC (High State Committee) entrusted him with the mission of leading the National Dialogue Conference. He was responsible for chairing the National Transition Council (CNT) from 1994 to 1997.
At the end of the first pluralist legislative elections of June 5, 1997, he was elected Speaker of the People's National Assembly, on behalf of the National Democratic Rally (RND).
In 2002, he was asked by the late President Bouteflika to take the reins of the Upper House of the Parliament after the death of Mohamed Cherif Messadia.
He preserved the status of second figure in the state hierarchy for 17 years, thanks to the plebiscite of his peers.
Discreet, balanced, the deceased is reputed to be the "quiet force" in high decision-making circles, to which he vowed unfailing loyalty.
Abdelkader Bensalah made his final public appearance in the last legislative elections while fulfilling his duty.
It is worth recalling that his is death came less than a week after the death of the country’s former president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika who passed away, late Friday, September 17th, 2021, at the age of 84 after enduring years of ill health.
The late Bouteflika, who was buried in the Martyrs’ Square in El-Alia cemetery, was a veteran of Algeria’s war for independence and had taken Algeria’s reign of power for two decades before his resignation in April 2019.
He joined the independence war against France at the age of 19 as a protege of commander Boumediene, who became president in 1965.
After Algeria’s independence from France in 1962, Bouteflika served in Algeria’s first post-colonial government and became minister of youth and tourism at the age of 25.
A year later, at the age of 26, he was appointed minister of foreign affairs, becoming Algeria’s second foreign minister and the youngest person in the world to hold such a position.
The late was an influential figure in the Non-Aligned Movement that gave a global voice to Africa, Asia and Latin America.
As a president of the U.N. General Assembly, Bouteflika invited former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to address the body in 1974, a historic step toward international recognition of the Palestinian cause.
He, also, demanded that China be given a seat in the United Nations, and railed against apartheid rule in South Africa. In 1974, he ordered the expulsion of South African officials from Algeria in protest against the apartheid system.
He championed post-colonial states, challenging the hegemony of the United States.
He also welcomed Che Guevara, and a young Nelson Mandela got his first training in Algeria. Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver, on the run from U.S. police, was given refuge.
Algeria, under his tenure, opposed the Arab League members on giving the Syrian seat in the League to the Syrian opposition, and Algiers resisted taking any kind of military action in Syria, and as for Hezbollah and Hamas, Algeria objected putting their names on the terrorist group list in the Arab League.
The late Bouteflika expressed refusal to join the Saudi coalition against Yemen, sending a clear message to Riyadh that Algiers refuses delving into a diplomatic game that would be dictated by the Americans.
Since the very beginning of the nuclear talks and even before the conclusion of the JCPOA, Algeria was positive about Iran's peaceful nuclear activities and constantly and explicitly defended Iran's right in international bodies. Following the implementation of the nuclear deal finalized by Iran and six world powers in July 2015, known as the JCPOA, Algeria considered the deal as an important stage in the process of the settlement of the tension and crisis situations, in a view to preserving international peace and security, and development in the benefit of all the peoples.
Elected president in 1999, he launched a national reconciliation process allowing the country to restore peace, following the black decade as the country was ravaged with a war between the Algerian army and armed Islamist militants that killed at least 200,000 Algerians.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, a few weeks before the end of his term of office on April 28 following protests, calling for the renewal of the political class.
To Allah we belong and to him we shall return…