Algeria’s Constitutional Council: Two candidates for presidential poll

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Algeria’s Constitutional Council said on Sunday that two candidates have registered for the country’s disputed July 4 presidential election, hours after public radio reported that a deadline had passed without any candidacy.

The poll is strongly opposed by protesters who reject any vote held under authorities they say are tarnished by corruption from the rule of ousted leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

But Algeria’s rulers have been determined to hold the ballot on July 4, seeing it as the only way out of a crisis that forced Bouteflika to quit in April after weeks of protests.

The deadline for registration passed at midnight on Saturday.

The Constitutional Council said in a statement that it had received the files of two candidates, Abdelhakim Hamadi and Hamid Touahri, both unknown figures. No major party has nominated a candidate.

Another obstacle to a July 4 election is that some mayors and magistrates have said they would not take part in organizing the polls.

Algeria has been rocked by months of protests since the ailing Bouteflika announced in February that he would run for a fifth term.

He quit office but protesters have kept up mass demonstrations calling for an overhaul of the “system” and departure of key Bouteflika-era figures.

On Sunday, Algeria’s prosecutor general’s office said graft allegations against 12 former government officials, including two ex-premiers and eight ministers, were being referred to the supreme court.