Five candidates are set to take part in the presidential elections on 12 December in Algeria. Who are these candidates and what are their backgrounds?
The candidates for the presidential elections on 12 December in Algeria had been confirmed on 2 November by the Independent National Elections Body. These include the following individuals: Ali Benflis, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Azzedine Mihoubi , Abdelkader Bengrine and Abdelaziz Belaid.
All the aforementioned candidates are known to have held positions in the governments under the long-lasting presidency of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced to resign in April following two months of continuous protests against his rule.
Ali Benflis is a former Prime Minister, who served in the position between 2000 and 2003. He became the General Secretary of the National Liberation Front Party (FLN) in 2003, the ruling party in Algeria since the War of Independence. He was previously been a candidate for the position of President on two occasions, losing out to Bouteflika both times.
Abdelmadjid Tebboune is also a former Prime Minister, who only held the position for three months between May – August 2017.
Azzerdine Mihoubi has previously been Minister of Culture in Algeria. He is the current interim Secretary General of the Democratic National Rally, a party known to traditionally have ties with the National Liberation Front.
Abdelkader Bengrina used to be the Minister of Tourism in 1997 and is currently the leader of the National Construction Party.
Finally, Abdelaziz Belaïd was formerly a member of the FLN, but formed his own party called the El Moustakbel Front in 2012. He has previously supported Benflis in his presidential campaign against Bouteflika.
The pre-election period has seen a continuation of frequent protests attended by various segments of Algerian society. The protesters believe that the transition government, dominated by military figures, have set up the elections in such a way that a candidate favourable to them will be elected – one that will not shake the foundations of the political status quo in the country, which has been opposed by demonstrators. As a result, it is expected that there will be a low turnout in the elections, with many refusing to participate.