Politics & Economics

Presidential Candidates In Algeria Hold Silence Days Before Elections

North Africa

As the presidential elections are set to take place on 12 December in Algeria, the candidates refrain from making any statements until that date.

Following the electoral campaigns made by the five candidates running for the presidency in Algeria, they are now bound by electoral law to refrain from continuing their political campaigns until the elections take place on Thursday, 12 December.

The electoral campaign themselves, nevertheless, have been met largely with disinterest or active antagonism. The candidates have been unable to attract large crowds to their rallies, as their speeches fall largely on deaf ears. It is therefore highly likely that a large proportion of Algerian will not participate in the elections as a demonstration of their opposition to the political establishment.

The past number of weeks in Algeria have seen regular protests against the holding of elections, which were announced by the army-led transition government, led by army chief General Ahmed Faid Salah, in mid-September.

Protesters have expressed their dissatisfaction with being governed by a military-led government and are instead in favour of a state run by civilians. In addition, they oppose the nomination of the candidates, who all had roles in previous governments under the presidency of Abduleziz Bouteflika, who was forced to resign in April following a series of protests that began in February.

Charges have been made by civil society activists as well as the European Union that the authorities are unlawfully detaining demonstrators. These criticisms have led pro-election groups and the authorities themselves to claim that the protests are being instigated by foreign actors.

Nevertheless, the anti-elections protests are known to have a direct link with the demonstrations that led to Bouteflika’s resignation. The protests in Algeria have been led by a variety of groups, including students as well as judges and lawyers who accuse the current establishment of not implementing a genuine separation of powers between the judiciary and the government, whom they see as currently working hand in hand to preserve the political status quo.