Algeria set for a contested vote. What is at stake?

Thank you for your reading and interest in the news Algeria set for a contested vote. What is at stake? and now with details

Copy of Algeria_Protest_13653.jpg-47fc9-1575803464238
Aden - Yasmin Abdel Azim - People demonstrate with posters in Algiers, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. Image Credit: AP

Algiers: Algerians are due to elect a new president on Thursday but a huge protest movement bitterly rejects the vote, fearing it will cement in power politicians close to the disgraced old guard.

Candidates have been loudly heckled during rare and low-key campaign events and their posters graffitied.

Copy of 2019-12-06T163235Z_967344172_RC2SPD931JIT_RTRMADP_3_ALGERIA-PROTESTS-1575803470450
Demonstrators demand election be cancelled. Image Credit: Reuters

For nine months protesters have marched weekly to demand that the December 12 election not entrench a political elite linked to former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who quit in April when confronted by a wave of people power.

Now the public rejection of the looming election threatens to worsen already deep divisions in the north African country.

Why are protesters against polls?

The protesters fear that a regime in power since 1962 in the former French colony is seeking to reconstitute itself in the vote, despite 40 weeks of persistent demonstrations led by the so-called “Hirak” movement.

The ailing Bouteflika was forced to resign after 20 years in power after mass demonstrations erupted in February against his bid for a fifth term.

190402 Bouteflika
Bouteflika. Image Credit: Reuters

But the five candidates seeking to replace him all either supported the former leader or participated in his government, and all have been the target of the protesters’ hostility.

Who are the front-runners?

Former prime ministers Ali Benflis, 75, and Abdelmadjid Tebboune, 73, are considered the frontrunners.

Also standing is Azzedine Mihoubi, head of the Democratic National Rally party, the main ally of Bouteflika’s party.

Bringing up the rear are Islamist former tourism minister Abdelkader Bengrina, whose party backed Bouteflika, and Abdelaziz Belaid, a member of a youth organisation that also supported him.

Since campaigning began on November 17, the candidates have avoided making appearances in the large cities of the coastal north, and often announce public meetings at the last minute.

Copy of 2019-12-06T163617Z_1449539301_RC2SPD9CVFES_RTRMADP_3_ALGERIA-PROTESTS-1575803467319
Protesters demand the vote is cancelled. Image Credit: Reuters

This has not stopped them from being greeted by jeering demonstrators who sometimes also manage to disrupt campaign meetings, despite a hefty security presence.

Protesters see the candidates as accomplices to the military high command, which since Bouteflika’s resignation has assumed de facto power.

Are candidates resonating with the people?

Not really. Candidates speaking at the sparsely attended rallies have struggled to demonstrate their understanding of Hirak’s demands.

Above all, they are facing an uphill battle to convince people to vote on December 12 in a country where abstention is viewed as the only way to challenge an entrenched system.

Official figures showed 37 percent of the electorate voted in 2017 legislative polls and 50 percent in the 2014 presidential election.

Copy of 072433-01-08-1575803460360
Algerians have been holding weekly anti-government protests since February. Image Credit: AFP

But observers say that even those turnout numbers were probably inflated.

Analyst Louisa Dris-Ait Hamadouche told AFP previous elections have been tainted by fraud and “held amid general indifference with a known voter base”, mostly supporters of Bouteflika’s long-ruling National Liberation Front and its allies.

“Now indifference has given way to active protest,” the political science professor at the University of Algiers said.

What is Salah’s role?

Powerful army chief General Ahmed Gaid Salah has emerged as Algeria’s main post-Bouteflika kingmaker.

Ahmed_Gaid_Salah
Ahmed Gaid Salah Image Credit: Supplied

An election planned for July 4 was postponed over a lack of viable candidates, plunging the country into a constitutional crisis as interim president Abdelkader Bensalah’s mandate expired that month.

Military-backed authorities are now determined to end the crisis as quickly as possible.

General Gaid Salah insists that December’s vote enjoys popular backing, citing “spontaneous” small marches of support but ignoring the hostile slogans chanted weekly at huge Hirak rallies.

These were the details of the news Algeria set for a contested vote. What is at stake? for this day. We hope that we have succeeded by giving you the full details and information. To follow all our news, you can subscribe to the alerts system or to one of our different systems to provide you with all that is new.

It is also worth noting that the original news has been published and is available at Gulf News and the editorial team at AlKhaleej Today has confirmed it and it has been modified, and it may have been completely transferred or quoted from it and you can read and follow this news from its main source.

PREV Coronavirus: Italy may ease lockdown restrictions at end of April as infection rate slows
NEXT 'Megxit': Harry and Meghan formally quit royal life