This forthcoming elections in Algeria has seen five prominent candidates competing to be the president. Initial indicators suggest the December 12th election will take place after prior cancellations on July 4th and February 14th.
Candidates have engaged in the national dialogue and unanimously agreed on establishing a higher authority to supervise elections.
Ali Benflis: promises to end dictatorship in governance
The first to announce candidacy and the head of the Vanguards of Freedom Party, Ali Benflis, worked at the head of the deposed government during Boutiflikas’ reign.
Mohammed Saimo, a journalist in Algeria, said that the Benflis candidacy is a blessing, considering the weight he already carries in the political realm.
According to the information provided by the head of Benflis presidential campaign, the candidate joined the presidential race before in 2004, but he failed and came second in the vote count. Born on September 8th, 1944, Benflis graduated from the faculty of law in 1968 for a few years until he decided to join the political arena.
“He held different posts in the ministry of justice as a judge, vice-president in 1974. Most importantly, he was appointed the minister of justice during the sixties, and eventually as a head of the government between 2002 to 2003,” said Saimo.
“He disappeared from the political realm in 2004, only to re-surface ten years later in 2014 as a presidential candidate, but he lost to Bouteflika. He then devoted his time working on establishing his Vanguards of Freedoms Party."
Abdelmadjid Tebboune: a separation between power and wealth
The former prime minister and head of government in 2016, Abdelmadjid Tebboune has announced that he too is joining the race, banking on the “separation between power and wealth” speech that he gave upon taking the prime minister's office in 2016.
The speech may have led to his dismissal by some pressure groups inside the government, but these groups are now behind bars facing major corruption charges, according to accounts provided by one of the attendees of the trial.
Born on November 17th 1945, Tebboune graduated from the national school for administrative studies in 1965, majoring in economics and finance.
He was appointed as minister of communication and minister of housing, according to his presidential campaign office. One of the most remarkable moments is his political history was when he was appointed as a minister for 3 months in 2017, only to have his contract terminated after he declared a war on corruption.
After this, Tebboune temporarily gave up politics while maintaining his membership at the National Liberation Front party.
Abdelaziz Belaïd: a life in government hallways
The youngest and most invigorated candidate in the presidential race, Belaïd, head of the Future Front Party, announced his joining of the race during the widespread rejection of the previous presidential election in July, in which he came third
He was born in 1963, in Batana province. His struggle in the political realm began when he joined an Islamic political group. He then graduated from medical school, receiving a doctorate followed by a law degree.
Belaïd was head of the Algerian student union and joined the National Union for Algerian Youth, after which he was appointed as the Unions’ general secretary. He joined the National Liberation Front at a young age, and he was eventually elected twice as vice-chairman of the parliament, first in 1998 and again in 2008.
Belaïd is known for his inspiring political speeches advocating for political reforms and introducing amendments to the legal system. Notably, he has also spoken of federalization, through which each province or state in the country would only apply the kind of laws that suit them, especially those related to taxes.
Abdelkader Bengrina: the Islamists’ representative
Bengrina first stood out among other candidates with a heartfelt speech that he had given highlighting his support for the role of people’s movement in shaping the country’s political future. His respect for civil society has earned him great sympathy.
He managed to reinstate himself in the political sphere by joining the presidential race after he established his new National Body Party following a split-up with the Islamic society movement Hamas, which was part of the Muslim Brotherhood operation in Algeria.
Born in 1962 and growing up in the south, Bengrina at the age of 14 began joining Islamist groups. He later worked as deputy mayor to Warqla in 1998, about 500 kilometres from the capital. He was eventually appointed as the minister of tourism and traditional industries during the former president’s Al Yaseen government.
Azzedine Mihoubi: from art to politics
Mihoubi announced his run for presidency under the National Unionist Party", one of the multiple parties representing the presidential alliance that surrounded the former president.
Mihoubi has worked as the general secretary of the party following the detention of his predecessor, Ahmed Aouhi, over corruption charges.
He has made promises of a new Algeria and chances for young people, according to some of his public speeches and press interviews.
Born in 1959, he graduated from a public school for administrative studies in 1984, followed by a degree in applied arts in 1979.
He held different posts until he became the minister of culture in 2015, an appointment that continued to the end of 2019 following a public pressure for him to remain in office despite the political changes.
He is viewed as being a calm and tranquil candidate with a sense of a literary wit, which can be heard in his eloquent speeches.
If the election goes as planned, one of these candidates will be the next Algerian president for five years. However, some political analysts believe that the December 12th presidential election could be the most controversial in the history of the country.
Translated By: Nariman Mohammed