Algeria is set to hold a presidential election on December 12 despite ongoing popular protests demanding the vote be cancelled.
Authorities in the North African country, a leading oil and gas producer, have previously abandoned planned polls twice this year – once in April and again in July.
Demonstrators, who initially took to the streets in February to rally against longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s decision to seek re-election, have continued to take to the streets to demand a complete overhaul of the political system.
However, Algeria’s army, the main player in the country’s politics, has been adamant on the election, insisting that people’s core demands have already been met.
The country’s electoral commission said an estimated 24.5 million people are eligible to take part in the vote, which will see five candidates compete for the presidency.
A runoff will decide the winner if no candidate achieves an absolute majority in the first round. No date has been given for a potential second round of voting.
Activists say they want to curb the president’s powers, which extended to nearly every sphere of society during Bouteflika’s 20-year rule. They also want a national dialogue conference, where various civil society actors and political parties can convene to discuss amending the existing constitution, or begin drafting a new one.
The absence of international observers is another worrying factor for the electorate, who have been quick to point out that all five contenders are Bouteflika loyalists.