Algerian presidential candidates hold debate as protesters rally

  • Sunday 08, December 2019 07:12 AM
  • Algerian presidential candidates hold debate as protesters rally
Sharjah24 – Reuters: Five candidates, all of whom are former senior officials went head to head in a televised debate just as tens of thousands of Algerians were leaving an earlier protest, one of their last weekly demonstrations before the presidential election.
One question during the presidential debate, the first in an Algerian election, was about the country's political system, and candidates tried to mollify the opposition.

One candidate, Abdelaziz Belaid, said he would hold a referendum to change the constitution and another, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, said he would grant all the freedoms sought by the protesters.

But protesters have rejected the election which they consider meaningless, and have continued protesting twice a week since February to demand that the shadowy ruling elite that has controlled Algeria since independence in 1962 quits power.

The government has since arrested several opposition figures and journalists, charging some with attacking army morale.