Algeria postpones presidential vote after contenders disqualified
June 02 2019 05:59 PM
People take part in an anti-government protest in Algiers, Algeria
People take part in an anti-government protest in Algiers, Algeria


Algeria on Sunday postponed disputed presidential polls, which were scheduled for next month, after the sole two hopefuls were disqualified.

In April, interim president Abdelkader Bensalah set presidential elections for July 4, a decision that drew opposition from street protesters who had earlier forced long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign.

Only two little-known presidential hopefuls submitted bids before a deadline ended last week.

On Sunday, the Constitutional Council, a body in charge of the election process, said it had rejected the two potential contenders' applications without giving a clear explanation.

‘Based on this decision, it is impossible to conduct the presidential elections on July 4,’ the council added in a statement, according to Algeria's official news agency APS.

The council called on the interim president to set a new date for the vote.

‘The constitution states that the basic mission of the one doing the job of the head of the state is conducting the presidential election,’ the council said, suggesting a longer transitional stage in Algeria.

On April 2, Bouteflika, who had ruled the country for 20 years, stepped down after weeks of nationwide protests and under pressure from the powerful military.

On April 9, Bensalah was appointed by parliament to lead the North African country in a three-month transitional period.

Some experts said that the cancellation of the July 4 polls would extend the transitional period and Bensalah's stay in office for three more months. His current mandate ends on July 9.

‘It seems we will see an extension of Abdelkader Bensalah's mandate by an additional three months,’ Amer Rekhila, an ex-member of the Constitutional Council, told Algerian news portal TSA.

Since Bouteflika's resignation, demonstrations have continued every week in Algeria, demanding the departure of Bensalah and other key Bouteflika-era officials.

 The protesters have also called for the postponement of the vote over fears of fraud.

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