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Viewing cable 07ALGIERS45, SENATE PRESIDENT RE-ELECTED

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ALGIERS45 2007-01-16 17:05 2010-11-30 16:04 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Algiers
VZCZCXYZ0010
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAS #0045 0161707
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 161707Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY ALGIERS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2696
INFO RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 6429
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 1573
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1486
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2048
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 2834
C O N F I D E N T I A L ALGIERS 000045 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/17/2017 
TAGS: PGOV KDEM AG
SUBJECT: SENATE PRESIDENT RE-ELECTED 

REF: A. 2006 ALGIERS 2067 

B. ALGIERS 30 

Classified By: DCM Thomas F. Daughton; reasons 1.4 b/d 

1. (C) Abdelkader Bensalah was re-elected, 129-0, as the 
President of the Conseil de la Nation (Senate) on January 12. 
Bensalah remains first in line to succeed President 
Bouteflika in the event that he is unable to complete his 
current term. Bensalah's re-election became a foregone 
conclusion when no other senator challenged him for the post. 
A reporter for French-language daily newspaper Liberte, 
XXXXXXXXXXXX, who covered all aspects of the election, told 
us the result was predetermined once President Bouteflika 
signaled to the senators that he wanted Bensalah to retain 
his position. XXXXXXXXXXXX said senators privately complained 
that, out of respect to Bouteflika, no other candidates had 
presented themselves. Many told her the election became a 
formality rather than an exercise in democracy, which was a 
shame in their view. 

BOUTEFLIKA APPOINTS SENATORS OF HIS GENERATION 
--------------------------------------------- - 

2. (C) On the day of the election, eight new senators joined 
the Conseil de la Nation as part of the third of the 
membership appointed directly by President Bouteflika (ref 
A). All have one characteristic in common: they are 
"moudjahidine," or veterans (like Bouteflika) of the war of 
independence against France. According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, these 
newly appointed senators, as members of the "revolutionary 
family" and in a sense "siblings of President Bouteflika," 
will be very loyal to him. Some senators quietly expressed 
to her their frustration that the president did not reach out 
to members of the younger generation who will need to lead 
the country after Bouteflika and his generation pass from the 
scene. 

VACANT SEATS FOR DEPARTING MINISTERS? 
------------------------------------- 

3. (C) Bouteflika appointed just eight senators out of the 24 
allotted to him this year. XXXXXXXXXXXX, a former senator 
from the presidential tier, told us Bouteflika made a 
conscious decision to leave 16 seats vacant for later 
appointment. While it may be true that Bouteflika had not 
yet made up his mind in some cases, XXXXXXXXXXXX thought it more likely that he wanted to keep some Senate seats in reserve 
for ministers who are expected to be dismissed shortly from 
the cabinet. XXXXXXXXXXXX said the number of vacant seats was a 
good indicator that a cabinet shuffle was coming soon. 

4. (C) COMMENT: Even though Bouteflika's illness is receding 
in the minds of the public (thanks to television pictures of 
an active president), the widely respected Bensalah is 
considered able to manage the presidential succession process 
should Bouteflika not be able to finish his term. XXXXXXXXXXXX 
analysis of the vacant Senate seats also strikes us as on the 
mark. 
FORD