Algerian council scraps July 4 presidential election

Algerian council scraps July 4 presidential election
Algerian council scraps July 4 presidential election

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 therule of interim President Abdelkader Bensalah, who was meant to stay only untilthe vote to elect a new president after Bouteflika ended his 20-year rule inthe wake of mass protests.

Demonstrations have sincecontinued, with protesters demanding Bensalah's resignation and an end to thedominance of the elite who have ruled Algeria since it won independence fromFrance in 1962.

In a statement on state television, 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 organize a vote at a later date, state television said.

Bensalah had been appointed asinterim leader until July 9.

On Friday, hundreds of thousandsagain took to the streets of Algiers and other cities to call for his removaland that of Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, who was appointed by Bouteflikadays before he stepped down.

Lieutenant-General Ahmed GaedSalah, who has been managing the transition, has called on political partiesand protesters to meet amongst themselves to discuss a way out of the crisis.

Analysts say the army, a majorplayer in the oil and gas producer, is concerned about the crisis continuing ata time when instability is worsening in neighboring Libya, where rival forcesare fighting over the capital Tripoli.

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