Two Algerian presidential candidates, Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Ali Benflis, have vowed to “build the second republic” popular protesters have been demanding.
Nominations for the December 12 elections were closed on Saturday, with 23 figures running for the vote. Nominations will be confirmed in a week’s time.
Tebboune, 72, told a press conference that his campaign “includes solutions to most of the Algerian people’s problems.”
“It is true that it will be difficult for us to implement solutions but we will overcome challenges with the will of the people and build the second republic,” he said after submitting his candidacy.
The popular protests, which have taken to the streets every Friday, oppose Tebboune’s candidacy and that of several other figures, whom they believe are an extension of the “gangs” ruling the country.
Tebboune said Algeria is witnessing a “historic” moment in which it is holding elections independently, adding that three weeks of campaigning will not be enough to visit all of the country’s 84 states.
Tebboune had served as minister Minister of Communication and Culture from 1999 to 2000 under former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s rule. He also served as Minister of Housing in 2012.
Former Premier Benflis, 74, submitted his candidacy on Saturday. He heads the opposition Talaie El Houriat party.
He said Tebboune “symbolizes Bouteflika's rule without Bouteflika,” referring to how closely he worked with the resigned president.
“I’ve decided to run for the upcoming elections to save my country from the cycle of problems it has been experiencing," said Benflis at a press conference, holding Bouteflika's regime accountable for these problems.
“The organization of transparent election will help bring together the people over a national project that will build the new republic,” he stressed.
Beflis had served as Bouteflika’s electoral campaign manager in 1999. He held various posts in office, becoming prime minister in 2000. He split from Bouteflika in 2004, losing in two presidential elections against the president.