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Five Candidates to Run For Upcoming Presidential Elections in Algeria

Five Candidates to Run For Upcoming Presidential Elections in Algeria

Wednesday, 30 October, 2019 - 11:15
Part of the judges’ demonstrations in the center of the Algerian capital on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 (AP)

Algeria’s Independent National Authority for the Organization of Elections will announce next Wednesday the results of “reviewing” 22 dossiers for candidates running for elections scheduled on December 12.

Sources suggested that the authority is likely to retain five candidates only because the rest were unable to collect the necessary signatures.

Sources from the Electoral Authority told Asharq Al-Awsat that the candidates whose files met the legal requirements contained in the electoral law are former premiers Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Ali Benflis, who heads an opposition party, former Minister of Culture Azzedine Mihoubi, leader of the Democratic National Rally party (RND), 2014’s presidential candidate Abdelaziz Belaid and Abdelkader Bengrina.

Among these five candidates, three were senior officials under former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (1999 – 2019).

The candidates are: Benflis, who ran twice against Bouteflika in the 2004 and 2014 presidential elections and was his campaign manager in 1999, Tebboune, who described himself as a "victim of Bouteflika’s regime," arguing that influential businessmen deported him from the premiership two months after being appointed to the post. The third is Mihoubi, who served twice as a minister in two sectors and was also director of the state radio.

Bengrina said he will become Algeria’s president on December 13 if the elections were held without fraud.

He underestimated the sharp rejection of elections by thousands of demonstrators, who express this position in the popular Friday movement and the university students’ demonstrations every Tuesday.

According to Bengrina, the El Bina movement, which he heads, received information that data that turnout will be high on December 12 and among Algerian immigrants abroad.

The candidates, who supported a few months ago the extension of Bouteflika’s term, face popular rejection.

The most targeted by the movement are Tebboune, who was Prime Minister under Bouteflika in 2017, and former Minister of the National Community Abroad Belkacem Sahli.

Sahli faces severe attack because he was one of the biggest enthusiasts of Bouteflika's candidacy for a fifth term, which was overthrown by the movement and led to his resignation on April 2.

Meanwhile, masses of university students stormed the streets again to express their rejection of the election and demanded the regime's departure.

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