Algeria's president might resign this week

Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Salah kept his position as deputy defence minister in the reshuffle, according to state media.

Haddad, long a backer of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, resigned this week as head of Algeria's Business Forum, apparently trying to distance himself from the unpopular leader whose government has been accused of corruption.

Haddad was widely seen as a political tool of ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika whose decision in February to seek a fifth term in office despite his failing health sparked nationwide protests in the North African country. He also postponed the April 18 elections.

He said trying to undermine the military, a revered institution in Algeria whose support has always been seen as vital to keeping Bouteflika and the ruling elite in power, was a "redline" that should not be crossed.

Other notable changes included Central Bank Governor Mohamed Loukal and Mohamed Arkab being named finance and energy ministers.

Several Algerian television stations broadcast news on the detention of Haddad, a media magnate who helped to fund Bouteflika's election campaigns over the years.

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State TV reports 21 of the country's 27 ministers have been replaced.

Bouteflika also named the communication minister, Hassane Rabhi, as government spokesman, a rarely-filled post in what critics say has been a secretive administration.

Speaking in support of the army's initiative, former prime minister Ali Bengalis said: "The merit of this approach is that it responds to a pressing popular demand".

The victim of a debilitating stroke in 2013, Bouteflika has in recent weeks seen some of his closest allies, including ruling party executive and trade union leaders, abandon him.

The secretary-general of the United Nations said on Sunday he welcomed efforts toward a peaceful and democratic transition in Algeria.

Addressing an Arab League summit in Tunis, Mr Guterres insisted that any steps should be made in a way "that addresses the concerns of the Algerian people in a timely way".

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