Algerian Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah reiterated on Tuesday that the army leadership has “no political ambitions”, in conjunction with the start of the presidential campaign, scheduled on 12 December.
He made this remark while conversing with military leaders, during his visit to the 4th Military Region, southeast Algeria.
Gaid Salah stated: “We are serving our people, with whom we share the same origins, with work and not with words only. We have no political ambitions, and no goals other than those serving the best interests of Algeria and its people.”
He praised the demonstrations in support of the army and the upcoming elections, saying: “We stand in admiration and pride of the popular support the army received from Algerian citizens, belonging to different ages, who came from various regions to stand by the military institution and call for intensive participation in the upcoming elections.”
The statements of the Army Chief of Staff coincided with the launching of the electoral campaign, on Sunday, of five candidates competing to win the presidential race. During these campaigns, attempts were made by oppositionists to interrupt events related to the election, as a way to express their rejection of the upcoming elections, were recorded. Thus, some of the anti-elections demonstrators were arrested, according to local human rights organisations.
In recent days, Algeria has witnessed pro-elections demonstrations, during which protesters expressed their support to the army while warning against the hazardous effects of maintaining the current situation and keeping presidential office vacant on the stability of the country and its economy.
On the other hand, anti-elections demonstrations called for postponing the presidential race, claiming that “the conditions are unfavourable to hold the elections on this date”, which will allow the old regime to rejuvenate itself.