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Algeria president dismisses Islamist-leaning ex-premier

Algerian former prime minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem is surrounded by journalists during a meeting of the FLN party Central Committee in Algiers, June 24, 2014Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika dismissed regime veteran Abdelaziz Belkhadem as his special adviser on Tuesday, the presidential office announced, capping a dramatic downfall for the Islamist-leaning former premier. Belkhadem, 68, had long been seen as the regime’s go-between with moderate Islamists and his sacking comes after Algeria firmly put itself in the anti-Islamist camp alongside Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The president “issued a decree ending Belkhadem’s functions” as a minister and “all of his activities related to the state”, said a source cited by the Algeria Press Service. The president also asked that Belkhadem, who served as prime minister from 2006 to 2008, be banned from any involvement in the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN), the source added.

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