Algerian council scraps July 4 presidential election
Constitutional body says there is a lack of valid candidates after only two candidates put their names forward
Algiers — Algeria cannot hold a presidential election planned for July 4 due to a lack of valid candidates, its constitutional council said on Sunday, prolonging the country’s transition after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned two months ago.
The move will likely extend the rule of interim President Abdelkader Bensalah, who was meant to stay only until the vote to elect a new president after Bouteflika ended his 20-year rule in the wake of mass protests.
Demonstrations have since continued, with protesters demanding Bensalah’s resignation and an end to the dominance of the elite who have ruled Algeria since it won independence from France in 1962.
The constitutional council said it had received only two candidates, who were deemed invalid. It did not set a new date for the presidential election, asking Bensalah to organise a vote at a later date, state television said.
Bensalah had been appointed as interim leader until July 9.
On Friday, hundreds of thousands again took to the streets of Algiers and other cities to call for his removal and that of Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, who was appointed by Bouteflika days before he stepped down.
Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaed Salah, who has been managing the transition, has called on political parties and protesters to meet among themselves to discuss a way out of the crisis.
Analysts say the army, a major player in the oil and gas producing country, is concerned about the crisis continuing at a time when instability is worsening in neighboring Libya, where rival forces are fighting over the capital Tripoli.