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Algeria: Elections Committee Unveils 5 Presidential Candidates

Algeria: Elections Committee Unveils 5 Presidential Candidates

Sunday, 3 November, 2019 - 12:00
Protester in Algiers holds up sign that reads: 'My voice is sacred just like my dignity and my freedom' (AFP)

Five candidates will run in Algeria's upcoming presidential election, three of whom were close to former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika including former prime ministers Ali Benflis and Abdelmadjid Taboun, and Culture Minister Azzedine Mihoubi.

Head of Islamist El-Binaa National Movement, Abdelkader Ben Grina, and head of the El-Moustakbal Front Abdelaziz Belaid were also accepted as candidates.

Meanwhile, 17 candidates were excluded because they did not meet the conditions stipulated in the electoral law, including former minister Belkacem Sahli, one of the top supporters of Bouteflika's candidacy for the fifth term, which was dropped by the popular movement.

The Authority also dropped some well-known figures, most notably Islamic economics expert Fares Mesdour and former popular television host Slimane Bakhlili, who said earlier that he was nominating “to spite Azzedine Mihoubi” for unspecified reasons.

Mihoubi leads the National Democratic Rally (RND), which was at the forefront of the power parties that promoted Bouteflika's fifth term.

At the time, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia was the Secretary-General of the RND and is currently in prison on corruption charges.

The popular movement blamed the two large political parties, RND and the National Liberation Front (FLN), for corrupt senior officials and businessmen during Bouteflika’s regime (1999 – 2019).

Many officials involved in corruption cases were sent to jail by a strict order from Army Commander General Ahmed Gaid Salah.

Interestingly, three of the candidates belonged to the Liberation Front Taboun, Belaid, and Benflis.

Benflis was the party's secretary-general before being forced to resign after he objected to Bouteflika’s candidacy in 2004. He also ran against the former President in the elections.

Belaid was also a top commander in the party and joined the campaign in support of Benflis against Bouteflika, but after the election, he split and launched his party.

Observers believe that the composition of candidates does not carry any indication of a change in the system of government, contrary to what has been demanded by thousands of demonstrators nine months ago.

On the 37th Friday, thousands of people took to the streets to protests the elections, which coincided with the celebration of the Independence Revolution. However, Army Commander Salah confirmed last week that the elections will be held on its scheduled date.

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