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Algeria tensions: Governing party chief backs protesters

ALGIERS — The acting head of Algeria’s governing party said it is throwing its support behind protests against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Critics viewed the move Wednesday as an effort to save the reputation of the FLN party, or National Liberation Front, amid increasing disillusionment with Algeria’s power structure.

FLN interim leader Moab Bouchareb told a meeting of party leaders that the party ‘‘supports the popular movement.’’ But he also appeared to support Bouteflika’s ‘‘road map’’ for political reforms.

Bouchareb himself has been criticized as representing a leadership considered corrupt and out of touch with Algeria’s struggling youth.

The FLN is Bouteflika’s party.

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On Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Ramtane Lamamra said the Algerian government is ‘‘ready for dialogue’’ with demonstrators.

‘‘As I see it, the demonstrations have only grown more numerous, and there will be no solution except through dialogue,’’ he said in a press conference in Berlin.

Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui has been struggling to form a new government as candidates sought to keep their distance from Bouteflika.

Bedoui, who was appointed last week, had promised to create a new Cabinet within days to respond to the demands of Algeria’s demonstrating youth.

Separately, the Protestant Church of Algeria issued a statement supporting the protests.

The church, whose exact number of members is not precisely known in the largely Muslim country, said it ‘‘fully shares the aspirations and legitimate claims of the Algerian people.’’

associated press