A senior member of Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front Sheikh Ali Belhadj has said the security changes introduced by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika have no political significance and nothing to do with reform, but only aim to settle political accounts between the presidency and the intelligence.
In remarks to Quds Press on Wednesday Belhadj said: “The presidential team used the military to replace the Department of Intelligence and Security while the state police intelligence still exists.”
He added: “We are going into a police state with new names as evidenced by the political moves taken by the heads of security agencies in the various political, media and civil spheres.”
Belhadj declined to comment on the contents of the proposed constitutional amendments, saying: “We do not discuss the content of the Constitution. They say that President Bouteflika has proposed them but we did not hear anything from him.”
Belhaj called on the opposition to take all possible political moves, including resigning from the Parliament in opposition to the proposed constitution.
Remarking on the Islamic Salvation Front’s role, Belhadj stressed that the Front enjoys wide popularity.
Algerian security sources revealed earlier this week that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had passed a decree to dismantle and replace the Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS).
The DRS will have a new leadership composed of Bouteflika loyalists, including former security adviser Athman Tartag.