- The African Union (AU) will send a 100 observers to monitor Algeria's presidential election on Thursday, the continental bloc announced in a statement late yesterday.
According to the statement, the chairman of the AU Commission Jean Ping has decided to deploy an observer mission to Algeria following an invitation by the government to observe the 9 April general elections.
The mission is expected to be led by Joaquim Chissano, former President of the Republic of Mozambique and is made up of several personalities from the Pan-African Parliament, national parliaments, national electoral commission and members of civil society, according to a statement.
The Thursday elections comes amid protests by opposition parties that have withdrawn saying the elections are already rigged for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika following the amendment to constitution in November 2008.
Algerian President Bouteflika, who is seeking to retain the top job for another mandate, won office in 1999 and was re-elected in 2004 with 85 percent of the votes. He is the favourite in Thursday's poll, which will be contested by five other candidates and held under tight security.
An assessment mission of the AU had already visited Algeria in early March to review the elections campaign.
Last week, Algeria’s opposition Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD) raised a black flag outside its offices ahead of the polls next Thursday, saying it has declared the election day as a day for mourning Algerian democracy.
The elections have come under spotlight and criticisms from both the opposition and local and international rights organisations because of the controversial amendment passed in November.
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