Algerian president casts ballot

Algerian president casts ballot
# 17 April 2014 22:55 (UTC +04:00)

Bouteflika cast his vote on Thursday after arriving at a polling center in the Algerian capital of Algiers in his wheelchair while being accompanied by his two brothers.


Bouteflika, who is seeking to extend his 15-year rule despite health problems, seems to be the firm favorite while the strongest challenge against him is expected to come from former premier, Ali Benflis, who decided to run for president after almost ten years of political absence.

The 77-year-old Algerian president suffered a mini-stroke last year. There are also reports that he underwent medical examinations at a hospital in Paris in January. Bouteflika’s opponents say he is too frail to seek another term in office.

Meanwhile, some opposition groups have boycotted the election, saying it is unfairly tilted in favor of the ruling party and its allies. They have also mounted a campaign called Barakat - meaning “enough.” Opponents say the vote is “farcical.”

Under the Algerian electoral law, each presidential candidate is required to gather at least 60,000 signatures from supporters across at least 25 provinces, with a minimum of 1,500 signatures from each.

There were reports of sporadic election-related violence in Algeria just weeks prior to the elections.

On Wednesday, Algiers police dispersed a group of opposition activists protesting against growing unemployment and economic woes in the country.

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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED