Algeria Presidential Election - Two Candidates Submit Papers

Abdelhakim Hamadi and Hamid Touahri are virtually unknown to the public.

There was confusion in Algeria over the weekend as to if any candidate had filed papers to run in the July 4, 2019 presidential poll or not by the deadline of midnight on May 25, 2019. Agency reports cited state radio as announcing on May 26, 2019 that no one submitted nomination papers for the election. But the Constitutional Council later on the same day issued a statement saying Abdelhakim Hamadi and Hamid Touahri - who are virtually unknown to the public - handed in their papers for the vote. Though journalists who waited in front of the Constitutional Council office till midnight on May 25, 2019 said they did not see Hamadi and Touahri come in to submit their nomination forms. Instead, they said Lakhdar Benzahia, an unknown retired army officer from Bouteflika's National Liberation Front party, submitted his nomination form before withdrawing it later. Observers say Abdelhakim Hamadi and Hamid Touahri are unlikely to gather the signatures of 60,000 voters needed to run for presidential election. The Constitutional Council was due to meet on May 26, 2019 to study the nomination papers of the two presidential candidacies, but nothing was said about it afterwards. Abdelhakim Hamadi had also applied to run in the April 17, 2019 presidential that was later cancelled after protesters forced President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign. Algeria has been rocked by months of protests since Bouteflika announced his intention to run for a fifth term last February. He quit office last month, but protesters have continued to hold mass demonstrations calling for an overhaul of the "system" and the departure of key Bouteflika-era figures. The forthcoming poll is strongly opposed by protesters who reject any vote held under authorities they say are tarnished by corruption from the rule of Bouteflika. But Algeria's new rulers are determined to hold the ballot

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