Algeria presidential election postponed

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Algeria’s constitutional council scrapped a presidential election planned for July 4 citing a lack of candidates, prolonging a period of political transition and risking more anger from protesters.

The move will likely extend the rule of interim President Abdelkader Bensalah, due to stay on only until the vote to elect a new president. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika ended his 20-year rule two months ago under pressure from protests.

Demonstrations continue, with protesters demanding Bensalah’s resignation and an end to dominance of the elite who have ruled Algeria since it won independence from France in 1962.

“Bensalah will go beyond the 90 days as long as there is no election and this will anger protesters,” said political analyst Farid Ferrahi.

In a statement on state television, the constitutional council overseeing the country’s transition said two candidates came forward but were deemed invalid.

The candidates – not public figures – did not meet the 60,000 signature support quorum, a political source told Reuters.

It did not set a new date for the presidential election, asking Bensalah to organise a vote at a later date. Bensalah was appointed interim leader until July 9.

On Friday, thousands again took to the streets of Algiers and other cities to call for his removal and that of Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, appointed by Bouteflika days before he stepped down.

Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaed Salah, managing the transition, called on political parties and protesters to meet and discuss a way out of the crisis.