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Algeria presses corruption case against ex-PM and other senior figures

A prosecutor has referred Algeria's former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia, along with a minister and two ex-ministers, to the Supreme Court over graft accusations in an ongoing crackdown on the former ruling elite, authorities said on Wednesday.

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ALGIERS, June 19 (Reuters) - A prosecutor has referred Algeria's former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia, along with a minister and two ex-ministers, to the Supreme Court over graft accusations in an ongoing crackdown on the former ruling elite, authorities said on Wednesday.

Protesters and the army drove former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign on April 2 after two decades in power, but public pressure has continued for the departure and prosecution of senior figures around him.

In a statement, the Algiers public prosecutor's office said that as well as the former premier, the referral also included Tourism Minister Abdelkader Benmessaoud and former ministers Youcef Yousfi and Abdelghani Zaalane, who were in charge of industry and transport respectively.

None of them have commented on the case in public.

Six provincial governors were also referred to the Supreme Court in the same case, the statement said.

The army is now the main player in Algeria's politics, and its chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah has vowed to bring to justice all those suspected of corruption.

Protesters are now pushing for the departure of interim President Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, whom they view as part of the establishment.

Authorities have postponed a presidential election previously planned for July 4, citing a lack of candidates but without setting a new date.

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Toby Chopra and Andrew Cawthorne)

((hamid.ouldahmed@thomsonreuters.com;))

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