Algeria's presidential campaign officially began Sunday with five candidates vying for the top job. In an unprecedented move, the five officially selected candidates have all signed a charter of ethics to ensure they comply with electoral procedures and standards.
The campaign for the December 12 elections in Algeria was launched on Sunday, November 17, despite popular demonstrations to call for an end to the electoral process. The Hirak, as the protest movement has been dubbed, began February 22 against former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term in office but has so far failed to change the course of the election.
On Saturday, the five candidates, including Abdelaziz Bouteflika's former prime ministers, Ali Benflis and Abdelmajid Tebboune, the favourites heading into the campaign, signed a charter on the ethics of electoral practices in Algiers.
The charter, drafted by the Independent National Electoral Authority (Anie), "sets out the guiding principles and specific practices that form the framework for the moral behaviour expected of the candidates and persons involved in the electoral process". It's the first time that candidates for an election in Algeria have signed such a charter.
Algerians have been taking to the streets in large numbers to oppose the election, which they say is intended to ensure the political status quo. After having ousted Bouteflika in April, protesters rejected the proposed presidential elections of July 4, which did not take place due to a lack of candidates.
General Ahmed Gaïd Salah, the country's main powerbroker in the post-Bouteflika era, and the military high command have for months refused any way out of the crisis other than a presidential election and rejected the establishment of transitional institutions demanded by the demonstrators.
According to images shared on social media, election signs were defaced with anti-voting slogans even before the portraits of candidates were posted.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)