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The New Arab

Algeria's main Islamist party to snub election amid protests

The Islamist party previously said it would take part in the vote [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 March, 2019

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Algeria's Movement for the Society of Peace announced it would not submit its candidate Abderrazak Makri to take part in the vote set to take place on April 18.

Algeria's main Islamist party has said it will not field a candidate in the upcoming elections amid protests against ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's re-election bid.

The Movement for the Society of Peace decided on Saturday to not submit its candidate Abderrazak Makri to take part in the vote set to take place on April 18.

"This decision is historic and will align the party with the people," one of the party's founders Said Morsi told The New Arab's Arabic-language service.

"The party will not take part in a political adventure led by the authorities that will push Algeria towards multiple uncertainties," he added.

The Islamist party, which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood movement, previously said it would take part in the vote.

The move comes after tens of thousands took to the streets on Friday to rally against 82-year-old Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term in office.

The deadline for presidential hopefuls to formally submit their candidacies for the election at the constitutional court is on Sunday night.

Bouteflika, who has rarely been seen in public since a 2013 stroke, has remained invisible and mute on the demonstrations since they broke out last week.

His declaration three weeks ago that he would stand for a fifth term came in the shape of a written statement published by state media, rather than a speech to the people.

Adding fuel to concerns about his fitness for office, the president has been in Switzerland for nearly a week undergoing what his office describes as "routine medical checks".

Once Sunday's midnight deadline passes, the court has ten days to rule on candidates' validity.

As of yet, Bouteflika has not formally submitted his candidacy.

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