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Largest Islamic party in Algeria decides rejects all presidential candidates

Students stage a demonstration demanding the departure of all government officials affiliated with former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in Algiers, Algeria on 16 April 2019 [ Farouk Batiche - Anadolu Agency]
Students stage a demonstration demanding the departure of all government officials affiliated with former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in Algiers, Algeria on 16 April 2019 [Farouk Batiche/Anadolu Agency]

The Algerian Movement of Society for Peace (the largest Islamic party in the country) announced on Sunday that it would not support any of the candidates for the presidential elections scheduled for next Thursday.

This came in a statement, seen by Anadolu Agency, the party issued after a series of consultations between Executive Office and the movement’s leadership bodies.

“The (executive) national office confirms that the movement does not recommend or elect any of the five candidates for the presidential elections,” the statement said.

The Shura Council, the movement’s highest leadership body, had rejected, at a meeting at the end of September, the nomination of the movement’s president, Abderrazak Makri, or any of the leaders for the presidential elections.

The most significant Islamic movement in Algeria had confirmed in previous statements that it supports the option of elections “but not in the current circumstances under which there is no consensus.”

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Five candidates are competing in the elections, to be held on 12 December, including Azzedine Mihoubi, who was appointed in July as the Acting General Secretary of the Democratic National Rally Party, replacing former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, who was imprisoned on corruption charges.

The other candidates are the two former Prime Ministers, Ali Benflis, Secretary-General of the Tala’a Al-Hurriyat party, and Abdelmadjid Tebboune (independent), in addition to Abdelaziz Belaïd, Head of El Moustakbal (Future) Front, and Abdelkader Bengrina, head of El Bina National Movement (Islamic party).

The elections are taking place amid division among the Algerian public. Supporters consider it imperative to overcome the ongoing crisis since the outbreak of the popular movement on 22 February.

In contrast, opponents consider that the elections need to be postponed, and demand the departure of the remaining symbols of the regime of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, warning that the polls will be a way for the government to renew its structures.

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