Algerian opposition will not stand in December election

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The main Islamist party in Algeria will not put forward a candidate in the presidential election on 12 December.

The Movement for Peaceful Society (MSP), which is also the largest opposition party in parliament, said “requirements for a fair and transparent election” were not in place.

Over the last few months, protesters have been taking to the streets of Algiers to express their rejection of presidential elections under the current government.

They are demanding the creation of fresh institutions before any elections – and want the removal of loyalists of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The MSP did not confirm whether it would back an independent candidate in the presidential race or call for a boycott.

For more than a decade, the MSP had been part of a coalition of parties that backed ousted President Bouteflika.
The party, however, withdrew from the alliance in 2012.

It is now calling for the removal of all officials associated with Bouteflika.

The army’s chief of staff Ahmed Gaid Salah, who analysts say has been the real power in Algeria since Mr Bouteflika was toppled in April, is insisting on organising presidential elections as soon as possible.

A military court last week jailed senior officials from the inner circle of the ousted president, including his brother Said Bouteflika, as well as former intelligence chief Mohamed Toufik Mediene and his successor Athman Bachir Tartag.

In addition to Trotskyist party leader Louisa Hanoun, the three strong men of Bouteflika’s regime were accused of conspiracy against the state and the army.