Thousands of Algerian protesters demand presidential vote delay
May 24 2019 06:16 PM
Algerian riot police stand on guard as demonstrators gather outside the the Grand Post Office, a key
Algerian riot police stand on guard as demonstrators gather outside the the Grand Post Office, a key rallying point for protesters in the capital Algiers


Thousands of Algerians demanded a delay to the country's presidential election in renewed anti-government protests on Friday.

Last month, long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned after weeks of nationwide protests and under pressure from the powerful military.

Interim president Abdelkader Bensalah, appointed by the parliament to lead a transitional period, has set presidential polls for July 4.

But protesters packed the centre of the capital Algiers on Friday for the 14th week in a row, calling for Bensalah and other key Bouteflika-era officials, including Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, to step down before the elections are held.

The demonstrators vowed to boycott the vote and some expressed fears of vote fraud.

‘Insistence on holding elections in the presence of the government of Noureddine Bedoui, whose name is linked to rigging the presidential terms won by Bouteflika, undervalues the popular movement that has taken to the streets demanding free and transparent elections,’ Hayat Belhadi, a 34-year-old protester, told dpa.

Weeks before he was forced to resign, Bouteflika named Bedoui, a former interior minister, as prime minister.

Bouteflika's 20-year era is believed to have been dominated by cronyism and mismanagement.

The deadline for registering to stand in the July 4 polls ends on Saturday at midnight.

Seventy-seven potential candidates have applied so far, according to media reports.

Their eligibility has yet to be vetted by the Constitutional Council, the body in charge of the electoral process.

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