Algerian Get Ready for April's Presidential Poll

Published January 24th, 2019 - 10:00 GMT
Scrutineers count votes at the end of the Algerian parliamentary elections late on May 4, 2017, in the capital Algiers. (AFP/ File)
Scrutineers count votes at the end of the Algerian parliamentary elections late on May 4, 2017, in the capital Algiers. (AFP/ File)

The Algerian Interior Ministry announced that 12 party leaders and 50 people with no political affiliations withdrew their “signatures collection forms” required to establish the candidacy documents for April’s presidency elections.

The announcement was made amid a pledge made by Minister of Justice Tayeb Louh on the "impartiality of judges" who will decide on the expected appeals after the announcement of election results.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Ministry of Interior said that those who received the candidacy documents benefited from the quotas allocated to the forms of subscription signatures, in accordance with the legal procedures, and the process is on the right track.

According to Algeria’s law, potential candidates have until March 4 to register with the constitutional court.

The signature forms are a condition for the presidential candidacies. They require the signatures of 60,000 people from at least 25 of the 48 states in Algeria, or 600 signatures of parliament, municipal and state council members of the same number of states.

Many candidates, specially those not affiliated with large parties, have failed in the past to meet these conditions.

The Interior Ministry explained that “prominent figures” are among candidates who arrived at its headquarters to receive the signatures collection forms, including several people who had announced their candidacies in the 2014 elections. It added that some party leaders have also made announcements through the media about their desire to run for office.

But the media has shed light mostly on retired Major General Ali Ghediri, who is supported by the press and political and human rights activists. Ghediri receives dozens of people every day at his campaign offices where he meets with members of the press and his supporters.

But in recent weeks, the retired general has been sharply criticized by the army leadership over his call for preventing incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from running for a fifth term.

As for Louh, he announced that the government deployed 1,541 judges in all municipalities to conduct the exceptional review of voters list in order to determine the size of the electorates, which was more than 22 million in 2014.

The judiciary is the main guarantor of fundamental rights and freedoms, and it will support the Supreme Independent Committee for Elections Supervision that has a huge responsibility, added the Minister.

He pointed out that the Committee proved on previous occasions that it was able to perform all its duties and was keen on enforcing the law.

Louh’s comments seemed to be directed at Algeria’s opposition, which has accused the judiciary of bias towards “regime candidates.”

Half of the 400-member Committee includes judges, while the rest are from the civil society.

The country's constitution stipulates the “separation of powers”, but in practice the executive branch has a say in judicial affairs.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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