Algeria’s army chief of staff said on Wednesday he had no political ambitions in response to democracy activists who say that he intends to copy the authoritarian model of Egypt. The armed forces have been a pivotal power centre in Algeria for decades and have been managing a transition after mass protests forced President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign last month after 20 years in office. Street demonstrations have continued to press demands for a dismantling of the elite of independence veterans, security commanders and business tycoons that have run the major oil and natural gas producer since independence from France in 1962. “Everybody should know that we have no political ambitions,” Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah told state television. A presidential election has been scheduled for July 4 but an informed source said on Friday it might be postponed. Algerian activists say they are concerned the army-steered transition towards democracy will prove illusory as in Egypt. As Egypt’s army chief in 2013, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled freely elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, won election himself in 2014 and then suppressed Mursi’s supporters as well as the liberal opposition in a pervasive crackdown on dissent. In Algeria, analysts the army fears the crisis will continue at a time of worsening disorder in neighbouring Libya, where there is factional fighting for control of the capital Tripoli. Salah also said a fight against corruption and cronyism, among protesters’ main grievances, would continue and that he disagreed with some officials who said this was…

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