Abdelmadjid Tebboune, former prime minister of Algeria and one of the five candidates in the country’s presidential elections slated for December 12, said he decided to run to meet the demands of protesters.
“A segment of the Algerian population asked me to run for president," Tebboune told Asharq Al-Awsat in an interview.
“I cannot reject this national duty, especially under these delicate circumstances,” he added, referring to the crisis sweeping the country.
Tebboune, 74, reaffirmed he is not the candidate of the military establishment or any other party, saying the army confirmed it did not nominate anyone and that it equally distances itself from all candidates.
The presidential candidate responded to those who claim the upcoming elections are popularly rejected by saying that the Algerian people are only a determining factor when it comes to deciding Algeria’s fate.
"The streets of the country are witnessing peaceful demonstrations calling for elections," he said.
He stressed that “the polls will inevitably take place,” adding that the country is passing through “an unprecedented democratic transition.”
Tebboune highlighted that the elections “remain the only democratic mechanism agreed on universally when it comes to building a country.”
He, on the other hand, believes that the fate of hundreds of detainees from the popular movement lies with the judiciary.
Asked whether he would accept the presidency in the event of a low voter turnout, Tebboune said: “Nothing in our laws determines whether or not to accept the presidency based on the turnout. There is no man in history who has achieved unanimity in its true sense.”
“There is nothing to stop a president from accepting his post after winning elections, as long as people are free to make their choices and express their positions on election day,” he added.