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ALGIERS, Algeria – The Latest on the Algerian political situation (all times local):
Algeria's official news agency has announced July 4 as the date for presidential elections.
APS quoted a statement Wednesday from the president's office.
The announcement came a day after Abdelkader Bensalah was installed as interim president following the forced resignation of ailing longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The constitution requires elections to be held within three months.
Algeria's powerful army chief has backed the country's newly appointed interim leader, and said the military will watch over the process to prepare for presidential elections, but suggested it doesn't want to intervene.
Ahmed Gaid Salah, speaking at a regional military headquarters in Oran, said it is "unreasonable" to organize elections in the three-month transition period allotted by the constitution without institutional guidance, such of that of Abdelkader Bensalah.
The head of the Senate was appointed the day before to replace former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was pressured by massive protests to step down after two decades in office. Bouteflika had tried to hang on, but the pressure increased when Gaid Salah withdrew his support and denounced the corrupt "gang" running the country.
The Agence France-Press news agency said the Algerian authorities have expelled its bureau chief amid nationwide protests against the government.
AFP chairman Fabrice Fries said in a statement Wednesday that the "arbitrary decision" of not renewing Aymeric Vincenot's press accreditation is "unacceptable" and that it is "out of the question for us, in these circumstances, to appoint a successor for the time being."
AFP said Vincenot has been stationed in Algiers since June 2017 and left the country after the expiration of a final police deadline to leave. His accreditation was not renewed at the end of 2018.
The move comes after Algerian authorities expelled on March 31 a Reuters journalist after he was arrested for covering protests that prompted ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's resignation earlier this month.