Politics & Economics

Launch Of Algerian Election Campaigns Amid Protests

North Africa

The electoral campaigns for the candidates participating in the presidential election set to take place in Algeria on 12 December have been launched.

The electoral campaigns for the Algerian presidential elections were launched on Sunday 17th November, just under a month before the election is scheduled to take place on 12 December. There are five candidates that have been approved by the Independent National Elections Authority to take part in the election.

The candidates in question include: Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Ali Benflis, Azzedine Mihoubi, Abdelkader Bengrine and Abdelaziz Belaid. All the candidates are known to have had posts or links to the previous regime under the presidency of Abduleziz Bouteflika, who was forced to resign following continuous protests in the country.

Demonstrators are continuing to line the streets in the Algerian capital, Algiers, in opposition to the holding of elections. These protests have been carrying since the resignation of Bouteflika in April. They see the candidates and the current transitory political regime as an extension of the status quo and the previous decades of dictatorship.

Those who are expressing their opposition to the elections include students, lawyers and others. Their main concerns include the lack of independence of the judiciary system from the political establishment as well as the crackdown by the political authorities on the protests, which has included the detainment of several political prisoners.

The wide-ranging protests have come under the general umbrella called “Hirak”, meaning “Movement” in Arabic. It includes a variety of actors including civil society activists.

Despite the widespread rejection of the elections in Algeria, the political authorities have been looking to gain legitimacy in the southern regions, which is more dispersed and secluded from other parts of the country.

Nevertheless, it is expected that the electoral turnout will be extremely low in December. Indeed, the turnout for the previous few elections has been decreasing each time. The turnout for the presidential elections in 2014 amounted to 51.7% and the proportion of people who registered for the latest legislative elections reached a mere 38.25%.