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ALGIERS, Algeria — Algeria’s electoral body Saturday announced five candidates for the Dec. 12 presidential election, including two former prime ministers and all products of the system challenged by months of pro-democracy protests.

The electoral authority validated the candidacies of former Prime Ministers Ali Benflis and Abdelmadjid Tebboune, and two former ministers, one of them a moderate Islamist, plus the head of a small party.

The elections are to replace former longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, forced to resign in April after protests and a stern warning from army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, who has emerged as the country’s authority figure.

Protesters had opposed Bouteflika’s planned bid for a fifth term after 20 years in power and now want to dismantle the corruption-ridden system that kept him in office and the long-standing, if often shadowy, role of the military at the top. Bouteflika was Algeria’s first civilian president since the nation’s first leader after independence from France in 1962, Ahmed Ben Bella, was deposed in a coup.

Besides the two former prime ministers running in next month’s presidential election, the other candidates are: former tourism minister, Abdelkader Bengrina; former culture minister, Azzedine Mihoubi; and the head of the El Moustakbel party, Belaid Abdelaziz.

Print Headline: 5 Algeria candidates in protested system

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