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The presidential election in Algeria scheduled for December 12


This date coincides with the timetable set by the army chief of staff, Ahmed Gaïd Salah, the country's strongman since the forced resignation of President Bouteflika.

Mobilization against power in Algiers, September 13, 2019. TOUFIK DOUDOU / AP

Unsurprisingly, the Algerian government imposes its exit agenda. In a "speech to the nation", broadcast by public television on Sunday, September 15, Abdelkader Bensalah, the acting head of state, announced that the presidential election in Algeria will take place on Thursday, December 12.

Bensalah, who signed the decree for the convening of the electorate, called on Algerians "to contribute collectively (...) December 12 to the writing of the history of their country and the choice of their new president » . The interim leader has "urged" the Algerians to "mobilize to make this meeting the starting point of the process of renewal of the nation" .

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This date coincides with the timetable demanded by the army chief of staff, General Ahmed Gaïd Salah. Having become the strongman and the de facto leader of the country since the forced resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika on April 2, the commander of the army and vice-minister of defense had asked at the beginning of September the publication, on September 15, of the presidential election decree, which would allow the vote to be held before the end of the year.

This is the third presidential election that the Algerian government is trying to organize this year. Initially scheduled for April 18, 2019, the election was to pave the way for Abdelaziz Bouteflika's fifth term before he was forced to resign. The presidential election to elect a successor, set on July 4, had to be canceled, no candidate having declared, faced with the scale of the dispute.

"Electoral coup"

For a week, the authorities have launched a race against the clock to meet the timetable set by Ahmed Gaïd Salah, and the power has precipitated events in the day Sunday. The members and the president of the National Independent Electoral Authority were appointed within a few hours after Bensalah enacted the new electoral laws that both houses of parliament had passed without debate at the end of the week.

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The former justice minister, Mohamed Chorfi, took the lead in this electoral body to "oversee all its stages, from the convening of the electorate to the announcement of preliminary results . " No opponent declared to be in power is sitting among the forty members appointed to compose it, after the majority of the opposition parties refused to take part in what they described as an "electoral coup".

For its part, the protest movement opposes the holding of such a vote as the whole "system" of the two decades of Bouteflika's presidency did not leave power. Against a backdrop of hardening authorities, protesters once again took to the streets of the country on Friday, including tens of thousands in Algiers where twenty-two people were arrested and placed on Sunday with a warrant.

Guarantee "the creation of a peaceful environment"

In his speech, Abdelkader Bensalah did not have a word on the fate of these detainees, now dozens. Nor did it mention the possible withdrawal of Prime Minister and former Minister of the Interior, Noureddine Bedoui, appointed by Abdelaziz Bouteflika a few days before its withdrawal and whose resignation is required by the protesters. He also did not mention the opening of the public media to the protesters, among the so-called "appeasement measures" demanded by a party of the opposition as a prerequisite for participation in the election.

Talaie El-Hourriyet, the party of former prime minister Ali Benflis, the most inclined opponent to embark on the electoral race, said Sunday that the "conditions for the holding of a transparent presidential election, regular and impartial, are generally realized " , but that " the creation of a peaceful environment " remained to be guaranteed.

"This election will be an unprecedented opportunity to build confidence in the country, and thereby open the way for our people to a promising horizon of consolidation of democratic practice," promised the head of state Acting Abdelkader Bensalah. It only remains to find candidates.

Madjid Zerrouky

Source: lemonde

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