- Algerian government has limited opposition activities of influencing election candidates to pull off the April presidential elections. The opposition parties had on Tuesday announced a boycott of the elections, alleging that they are already rigged for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Algerian Interior Minister Nour A-Din Yazid Zarhouni said any activity within the framework of the election campaign is permitted saying the opposition campaign could lead candidates to pull out of the election campaign.
The elections have come under spotlight and criticisms from both the opposition and local and international rights organisations because of a controversial amendment passed in November, which allows President Bouteflika to seek a third term in office.
Mr Bouteflika’s supporters say if the president remains in power, he would continue the reconstruction of the country, which was devastated in years of violence in the 1990s that killed more than 150,000 people.
Critics say the president is seeking to consolidate his position in power in the North African country and prevent new players from entering the political system. However, President Bouteflika said he would stand as an independent candidate in the upcoming general election to pursue his national reconciliation policy, as well as to fight terrorism while leaving the door open to those who would rescind their decision not to commit terrorism.
The 71-year-old president, a veteran of Algerian politics was first elected in 1999. He has overseen a return to relative peace, though there has been a series of suicide bombings over last two years blamed on militants linked to al-Qaeda.
Earlier this week, the Algerian constitutional council announced the six presidential election candidates including one woman contesting the highest post in the country.
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