Algerians are choosing a new president in contentious poll
Added 12-12-19 05:35:03am EST - “Five candidates have their eyes on becoming the next president of Algeria - without a leader since April - as voting began in Thursday's contentious election boycotted by a massive pro-democracy movement.” - Washingtontimes.com
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ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) - Five candidates have their eyes on becoming the next president of Algeria - without a leader since April - as voting began in Thursday’s contentious election boycotted by a massive pro-democracy movement.
The powerful army chief and his cohorts in the interim government have promised the voting will chart a new era for the gas-rich North African nation that is a strategic partner of the West in countering extremist violence. Those opposed to the voting fear the results will replicate a corrupt, anti-democratic system they are trying to level.
Tension was palpable on the eve of the vote as protesters in at least 10 towns denounced the elections. In Bouira, east of Algiers, the capital, security forces used tear gas to push back protesters who had invaded a voting station in a high school, according to the online TSA news agency, citing witnesses. Several thousand people demonstrated in Algiers.
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Polls opened at 8 a.m. (0700 GMT) and are to close at 8 p.m. (1900 GMT). Results were not likely until Friday, to be announced by a newly created National Independent Electoral Authority overseeing the voting. The body was among the nods of authorities to protesters, like the decision for soldiers to vote in civilian clothes at regular polling stations, rather than in barracks.
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