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Algeria commits to presidential elections

Nov. 11, 2013 at 11:52 AM

ALGIERS, Algeria, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Algerian Minister of Communication Abdelkader Messahel said presidential elections will take place at the end of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's current term.

"The election will be held at the end of the current term [in April]," he was quoted the official Algerian Press Service as saying Sunday. "President Bouteflika has already instructed the government, during the last Council of Ministers meeting, to ensure good preparation of this election."

Bouteflika took power in 1999. His tenure lasted through the end of civil war in 2002 and the uprisings known as the Arab Spring, which gripped much of the Middle East and North Africa in 2011-12. The minister made no reference to the 76-year-old incumbent's plans.

Following last year's parliamentary elections, the BBC reported Bouteflika's government endured the Arab Spring relatively unscathed but felt pressured by opposition groups demanding reforms to the long-established administration.

Messahel said a "system will be set up, in conformity with law in force, so this vote is held in transparency."

A group associated with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, dubbed Those Who Sign in Blood, took credit for a January terrorist attack in Algeria. It was said to be a response to an Algerian decision to let French forces use their airspace for a multilateral intervention in Mali, where al-Qaida occupied territory.

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