Algeria’s army said on Sunday it would not back any candidate in a presidential election set for December to choose a successor to Abdelaziz Bouteflika, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Mass protests this spring forced Bouteflika to step down after 20 years in power, leaving the army as the main player in Algerian politics.
Since then tens of thousands of protesters have been staging weekly demonstrations to reject plans for a presidential election on Dec. 12, saying it cannot be considered free with Bouteflika allies still in positions of power.
“We affirm that only the people will pick the next president through ballot boxes, and the army will not support anyone,” a defense ministry statement quoted army chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah as saying.
Gaed Salah said officials from Bouteflika’s era were trying to disrupt the election by “spreading a propaganda” that the military would side with one of the politicians running for president.