Algerian media said Monday there was very little chance a presidential election will be held as planned on July 4, after only two candidates – both little known – submitted their candidacies. “The election... will without any doubt be postponed or canceled”, the francophone El Watan daily asserted.
The poll was originally meant to take place on April 18, but longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation early last month, on the back of huge street protests, forced a postponement.
To be eligible, the candidates – aeronautical engineer Hamid Touahri and Abdelhakim Hamadi, who heads a veterinary drug company – have to be backed by 600 local councilors and lawmakers or 60,000 voters in more than half the country’s regions.
“There is little chance that these two (candidates) will successfully collect,” the required signatures, El Watan said. Arabic daily Echorouk said there was no doubt that “the Constitutional Council should officially announce the postponement” of the poll.
Touahri and Hamadi met a deadline of midnight on Saturday to submit their candidacies, setting in motion a 10-day period for the Constitutional Council to rule on their eligibility. Despite Bouteflika’s departure, protesters have continued to stage mass demonstrations each Friday.
They want regime figures including army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah and interim President Abdelkader Bensalah to step down ahead of any poll and demand new independent institutions to oversee voting.