Algeria's Islamists says not to attend presidential election

The Algerian government on Saturday set April 9 as the date for a presidential election.

Algeria's Islamists says not to attend presidential election
"The President of the Republic signed on Saturday the presidential decree convening the electorate for Thursday, April 9, 2009, with a view to electing the presidency of the Republic," official news agency APS reported.

The elections are likely to take place without candidates from the two principal opposition parties -- the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD) and the Social Forces Front (FFS).

A leader of the country's Islamist movement, Abdallah Djaballah, has also announced he would not take part in the elections.

"In the absence of forces of change, the presidential election is already decided" and since the constitution was revised to remove limits on consecutive mandates, it is a "done deal", Djaballah told a press conference on February 1.

Press reports Saturday said his three-party alliance planned a huge rally to be held in the next few days when Bouteflika's candidacy would be officially announced.

Of the 18 people who have presented themselves as candidates for the election, only one has so far fulfilled the conditions to run.

Moussa Touati announced last month that his Algerian National Front had collected 1,500 signatures from elected officials and 96,000 others from voters, comfortably surpassing the minimum requirements to run for president.

Candidates are required to garner 600 signatures from elected officials or 75,000 signatures from voters in at least 25 of Algeria's 48 departments, a step that often prevents potential candidates from running.

The RCD has slammed the election as "a pathetic and dangerous circus," while the FFS, under Hocine Ait Ahmed, is expected to give the poll a miss as it did in 2004.

Meanwhile, Cuban President Raul Castro began a three-day visit to Algeria on Saturday in a sign of continued warm ties with Cuba.

Cuba shipped arms and civilian aid to the fighters of the Algerian National Liberation Front and struck up a close friendship after Algeria's independence in 1962.

The two countries became allies of the Soviet Union and leading members of the Non-Aligned Movement. Raul's brother, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, visited Algeria seven times, most recently in 2001.

Agencies
Last Mod: 08 Şubat 2009, 16:40
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