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Algeria protesters 'angry about the five candidates' ahead of vote, says FRANCE's 24's Philip Turle

The five candidates vying for Algeria's presidency on December 12, 2019.
The five candidates vying for Algeria's presidency on December 12, 2019. Screengrab, FRANCE 24

Algeria braced for fresh demonstrations Friday, the last in a series of weekly marches before a December 12 presidential election opposed by a protest movement that fears the vote will cement the hold on power of politicians close to the old guard.

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Voters called to the polls next Thursday will be choosing a successor to longtime strongman Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who ultimately relinquished the presidency in April when confronted by a wave of people power.

Protesters have marched on 42 consecutive Fridays to demand that Algeria’s next presidential election not entrench an elite linked to Bouteflika. But the five candidates seeking to replace him – former PM Abdelmadjid Tebboune, former PM Ali Benflis, former culture minister Azzedine Mihoubi, former tourism minister Abdelkader Bengrina and former El Mostakbal movement leader Abdelaziz Belaid –  all either supported the former leader or participated in his government, and all have been the target of protesters’ hostility.

“What the protesters want is for these elections not to take place and the military government is saying, ‘What we want is a strong turnout’ and when you’ve got those two positions face to face, it doesn’t look as though there is going to be much leeway either side,” FRANCE 24’s Philip Turle said Friday.

On Friday evening, in an effort to show that politics has indeed changed in Algeria, a televised candidates’ debate will take place for the first time in the country’s history between the five presidential hopefuls. The debate will be broadcast on all Algerian public and private TV channels as well as nationally via radio from 7:00pm local time.

To watch Philip Turle’s analysis of the situation in Algeria, click on the video player above.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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