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Algerian presidential elections ‘impossible’ on July 4

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Algerian protesters march with a giant national flag during a demonstration in the capital Algiers on May 31, 2019. – Protesters are looking to keep up the pressure on the North African state’s ruling elite with weekly rallies despite the end of Bouteflika’s two-decade rule. (Photo by RYAD KRAMDI / AFP)

Algeria’s constitutional council said Sunday it was impossible to hold elections to choose a successor to ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika early next month as planned, after the only two candidates were rejected.

“The constitutional council rejects the candidature applications” and as a result has announced “the impossibility of holding presidential elections on July 4”, according to a statement carried by national television.

It will now be up to interim president Abdelkader Bensalah to “again convene the electoral body and to finalise the electoral process” until a new leader is sworn in, the council said.

Bensalah, the former upper house speaker, was appointed on April 9 under constitutional rules which deem a presidential election must then be held within 90 days.

But the planned vote has drawn widespread protest, with Algerian demonstrators demanding Bouteflika allies step aside to make way for a broader political overhaul before any elections are held.

The July vote had been backed by Algeria’s army chief, General Ahmed Gaid Salah, a key powerbroker who supported Bouteflika until ultimately calling for the impeachment of the long-time leader, who stood down in April in the face of mass protests.


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