The Algerian National Independent Authority for Elections (ANIE) on Friday announced Oct. 26 as the deadline for candidates to submit applications for the upcoming presidential elections, reported Xinhuanet.
According to the official Algeria Press Service news agency, the ANIE said 139 candidates have already applied and registered to run for the upcoming elections, and that the number of candidates may increase as the registration window will remain open until the deadline.
As per the new organic law on the electoral system, presidential candidates are required to submit at least 50,000 individual signatures of voters registered on an electoral list from at least 25 of the 48 Algerian states. The minimum number of signatures required by each state is at least 1,200.
Algeria’s interim President Abdelkader Bensalah had announced the date of the presidential elections in mid-September amid pressure from the army which has repeatedly insisted on holding presidential elections as the only way for this African country to solve the current political crisis. The elections have been scheduled for December 12.
Mass protests forced former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign on April 2 after he announced his plans of seeking a fifth term in office. The protesters who have continued demonstrations since February have rejected the election as they claim that the vote cannot be free or fair if the military and senior officials tied to Bouteflika retain political power. They are also demanding the release of political prisoners.
Amid ongoing protests, the Algerian government closed three churches this week, including the two biggest congregations in the country, just days after many faithful protested the government’s crackdown on houses of worship.
The authorities shut down The Light Church in the city of Tizi Ouzou in north-central Algeria, Protestant Church of the Full Gospel in Tizi Ouzou and Source of Life Church in the Tizi Ouzou suburb of Makouda. They evicted worshipers from the church and arrested some who continued to protest the crackdown.