Algerians have been threatening to boycott the elections, calling for a radical change.
Rabat – Algerian army chief Gaid Salah has vowed not to back any candidate in the presidential polls due to take place in December in an attempt to encourage Algerians to vote.
On Sunday, September 29, Salah said, “We affirm that only the people will pick the next president through ballot boxes, and the army will not support anyone.”
Algerian citizens have been rallying on the streets of Algiers since February to condemn corruption and unemployment, as well as dysfunctions in the Algerian regime, led by elites from Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s era.
Algerians have also been threatening to boycott the election expected to take place on December 12, according to interim President Abdelkader Bensalah.
Gaid Salah accused members of the former government of attempting to disrupt the election.
“The gang and its acolytes try to spread the idea that the army will support one of the candidates for the next presidential election,” Salah said.
He added, “This propaganda and its purpose is to disrupt the election.”
Salah, a de facto ruler in Algeria, also accused anti-election protesters of chanting “biased slogans” during the ongoing demonstrations.
Under Salah’s leadership, authorities in Algeria arrested a number of elites for mismanagement of public funds and corruption, including the brother of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Said Bouteflika.
Last week, a military court sentenced Said Bouteflika to 15 years in prison.
The move comes as an attempt to regain the trust of protesters, who have been calling for all elites to step down, including Salah.
To end the protests, Salah ordered security services to seize cars entering Algiers for protests.
“We have instructed the gendarmerie to … stop buses and cars that are used to this end; to seize and impose fines on their owners,” Salah said.