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The secretary-general of Algeria's National Liberation Front (FLN) has offered to resign as the former ruling party debates a resolution accepting a political upheaval which halted democratic reforms.

"If the central committee wants me to announce my resignation to facilitate things, I am ready to do so," Abdelhamid Mehri told the committee late Jan. 27.

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Mr. Mehri was a supporter of former president Chadli Benjedid's three-year experiment in democracy, which was scrapped this month after Islamic fundamentalists took an unbeatable lead in the country's first multiparty general election.

The central committee has been holding emergency talks since Jan. 25, mostly in open session. Its draft resolution supports the five-man presidential council which replaced Mr. Benjedid two weeks ago, but also calls for a return to the "fundamental objectives" of Benjedid's reforms.

Mehri has faced a barrage of criticism from party ranks after he described the new presidential council, headed by formerly exiled FLN dissident Mohamed Boudiaf, as unconstitutional and held talks with Islamic fundamentalists.

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