Algeria announces July 4 election date as protesters keep up pressure

Algeria announces July 4 election date as protesters keep up pressure

Algeria will head to the polls in July, the presidency announced Wednesday, April 10 as demonstrators kept up protests against the ruling elite following veteran leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation.

Presidential elections will be held on July 4, interim leader Abdelkader Bensalah’s office said, just hours after he pledged “transparent” polls.

The new date was set a day after Bensalah assumed office for a 90-day period, as stipulated by the constitution but much to the ire of demonstrators.

Chants of “Go away Bensalah!” and “A free Algeria!” rang out from thousands of demonstrators gathered under police surveillance in Algiers, where anti-regime rallies have been held over the past seven weeks.

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The appointment of upper house speaker Bensalah as Algeria’s first new president in 20 years failed to meet the demands of demonstrators.

Although 77-year-old Bensalah is barred under the constitution from running in the upcoming election, protesters have nonetheless pushed for the close Bouteflika ally to step down.

Meanwhile, students and magistrates on Wednesday called for demonstrators to keep up their rallies and marches in the capital and other cities across the North African country.

Since Bouteflika announced his resignation on April 2 after losing the military’s support, the demonstrators have urged that regime insiders be excluded from the political transition.

The protest movement is calling for a new transitional framework that is committed to deep reforms.

The ailing Bouteflika finally stepped down at the age of 82 after weeks of demonstrations triggered by his bid for a fifth term in office.

After two decades in power, he had lost the backing of key supporters including the armed forces chief.

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