Algeria’s interim president pledges free elections

FILE PHOTO - Algerian upper house chairman Abdelkader Bensalah is pictured after being appointed as interim president by Algeria's parliament, following the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers, Algeria April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria's interim president, in a televised speech to the nation, promised on Tuesday to organize free elections after weeks of protests that led to the resignation of 20-year leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Abdelkader Bensalah, who was rejected by demonstrators right after parliament chose him to lead a transition period, said the army was aligned with the constitution as a pathway out of the crisis. He said he would consult with the political class and civil society alike in pursuit of a new Algeria.

(Reporting by Lamine Chikhi and Hamid Ould Ahmed; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Mark Heinrich)