Military’s Preferred Candidate Named Winner in Algeria Election

Military’s Preferred Candidate Named Winner in Algeria Election


Mr. Tebboune had faithfully served Mr. Bouteflika for years: as a local official, as a powerful minister, and then briefly in 2017 as prime minister, before being thrown out of office by Mr. Bouteflika’s brother Saïd, who by then had become the country’s real ruler because of his older sibling’s illness.

But analysts said that one reason Mr. Tebboune was the preferred candidate of the military establishment, and of General Gaïd Salah, was because he appeared to have split with the Bouteflika clan, with which the general was in bitter conflict by the end of his tenure.

The protesters had long since rejected Mr. Tebboune, as well as the other four candidates in the race, as part of the “system,” their epithet for the ruling elite that has governed the country since independence from France in 1962. The generals who historians and analysts say are the real power-brokers in the country had insisted on holding Thursday’s vote in an effort to move the country past the protest movement.

“These were elections ordered by the military command,” Mr. Hammoudi said. “They needed to have these elections, to give themselves a civilian facade. But what Gaïd Salah thought would be a solution, actually only deepens the problem for them.”

Mr. Khelil, the rights activist, said that the election “contradicts the will of the people” and was intended to give the existing system a “civil facade.”

“It brings nothing concrete to what the people’s movement wants,” he said, speaking from the middle of the big demonstration in Algiers on Friday. “Maybe it resolves an internal problem in ‘the system,’ but it doesn’t resolve the demands of the Algerian people.”

On social media, protesters said the protest movement would continue, as it did Friday. Mr. Khelil said either the new president would work to meet the demands of the protesters, beginning with the release of dozens who have been imprisoned in recent months — he thought this unlikely — or the government would double down on repressing the movement, “which would be a fundamental error.”



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