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Algerian protesters demand Thursday’s presidential election be canceled

Algerian protesters demand Thursday’s presidential election be canceled

Thousands of protesters marched through central Algiers on Wednesday to demand that a presidential election planned for Thursday be canceled. The demonstrators demanded that the vote be postponed until the entire ruling elite step down and the military quits politics.

Algeria’s political stalemate between the protest movement and a state increasingly dominated by the military has put at stake the political future of Africa’s largest country, a nation of 40 million people and a major gas supplier to Europe, Reuters said.

All five of the state-approved candidates running Thursday are former senior officials linked to former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who the army forced aside in April in response to the protests.

Army chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah, who has emerged as Algeria’s most powerful political player since Bouteflika was ousted, has pushed for Thursday’s vote as the only way to resolve the political crisis.