Algeria announces candidates to stand in presidential election opposed by public
Promises to make December vote fair and transparent fail to appease protesters calling for change
Algeria’s electoral body named two former prime ministers among five candidates for the country’s presidential election next month, as mass protests against the vote continued.
Authorities say the election, which will be held on Thursday, December 12, was the only way to get the country out of a crisis that began in April when Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned as president under pressure from protesters.
Candidates include former prime ministers Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Ali Benflis, former culture minister Azzedine Mihoubi, former tourism minister Abdelkader Bengrina and Abdelaziz Belaid, head of Al Mustaqbal Movement party.
They were announced by Mohamed Chorfi, the head of the election authority.
Almost two dozen potential candidates applied to the election authority, but most failed to meet the requirements to be considered. Those rejected will be allowed to file appeals.
Tens of thousands of protesters have been staging weekly demonstrations to reject the election, saying the vote will not be fair as some of Mr Bouteflika’s allies are still in power.
Mr Bouteflika was forced to step down after two decades in office, with demonstrators calling for the removal of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people involved in corruption during mass protests that began in February.
The army is now the main player in Algerian politics and its chief of staff Lt Gen Ahmed Gaid Salah promised transparency and fairness in the December vote.
Algerian authorities also met some of the protesters’ demands by detaining several former officials, including two former prime ministers, over corruption charges.
Protesters also want the remaining symbols of the old guard to be removed, including interim president Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui.
Algeria cancelled an election scheduled for July 4 due to a lack of candidates and a low voter turnout is expected the poll next month.
“There will be full transparency in the handling of the election,” Mr Chorfi said.