ALGIERS – Less than a month before the presidential election of December 12, the five candidates, approved by the national Independent Authority of Elections and the Constitutional Council are preparing for the campaign, set to start on Sunday.
Coming from different backgrounds, one thing unites these five candidates to the supreme magistracy: their desire to convince the Algerians to go to the polls en masse.
At 74, former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune pledged to “do everything” if elected to the presidency of the Republic, to “achieve the expectations and legitimate aspirations of the Hirak of February 22,” presenting “54 commitments” for “the establishment of a new Republic”.
Several times Governor and minister, Mr. Tebboune who seeks the supreme magistracy as an independent candidate intends to engage in a new development policy, advocating a “new economic model based on the diversification of growth and economy”.
This graduate of the National School of Administration (ENA) intends “to erect access to housing as a top priority” and work for “the preservation of the social security system and retirement” and to “guarantee all citizens a easy access to health care “.
In terms of employment, he promises a reduction in the unemployment rate, especially among young people and women.
Tebboune also intends to “revise” the objectives and “classic missions” of Algerian diplomacy, advocating an “offensive economic diplomacy” and a “cultural diplomacy”, as well as a diaspora “fully involved” in the national renewal.
For his part and after two failures in the presidential elections of 2004 and 2014, Ali Benflis, president of the party “Talaie El Hurriyet”, again seeks the supreme magistracy, always considering that the organization of the presidential election represents “the least risky and least expensive for the country” to get out of the crisis.
Former Prime Minister and former Minister of Justice, Mr. Benflis described the December 12 poll as a “historic opportunity” for Algerians”.
Advocating “a national emergency program”, this candidate undertakes, if elected, to implement “three priority measures” .
This is “the opening of consultations” with political parties, members of civil society and national figures, “the formation of a government of political openness” and “the dissolution of the People’s National Assembly “.
According to this candidate, there are seven major building blocks for democratic change: the institutional, constitutional and judicial projects, the construction of freedoms and rights, the media project and, finally, that of the moralization of political practice and public life.
Unanimous on the need to respond to Hirak’s demands
The president of the El-Bina Movement, Abdelkader Bengrina, who is participating for the first time in a presidential election, promises, in turn, to “respond to Hirak’s demands” and to open “a dialogue without exclusion”.
This former minister of tourism and former MP calls the Algerians to “mobilize around the search for possible solutions to different crises shaking the country, under the banner of a United Algeria”.
Pleading for “a strong participation” in the next election to “preserve Algeria”, this candidate, former trade unionist, ensures that his program “is based essentially on the principle of consultation of Algerians on the ways out of Algeria’s crisis”.
He pledges, as such, to “recover the stolen funds”, to “ensure the food and territorial security of Algeria”, and to “give hope to the Algerian people”.
Bengrina promises, if elected, “to improve the living conditions of the Algerian citizen, to ensure regional balance through a fair distribution of development programs, to raise wages, to grant more benefits to the breastfeeding woman and to mobilize the necessary means for a healthy environment in Algeria “.
On his side and for his first participation in a presidential election, Azzedine Mihoubi, Acting Secretary General of the National Democratic Rally (RND), unveiled an economic-oriented electoral program to try to convince Algerians of the need to go en masse to the polls.
This politician and the man of culture has put forward, in his election platform, 150 proposals aimed at reviving the national economy, calling for the creation of a Ministry of the Economy that will bring together the sectors of energy, finance, industry, telecommunications and the post office.
According to this former Minister of Culture, these sectors suffer from a “real lack of coordination” and require the development of a “specific plan”, stressing the importance of having “an active diplomacy and focus on the economy “.
Mr. Mihoubi put in his new policy on the development of an entrepreneurial economy and intends to encourage the creation of production companies to prepare the country for the post-oil era.
He, also, provides for reform of the financial sector and the legislative framework governing foreign investment to “achieve true economic openness” based on the promotion of investment, especially foreign investment.
He, also, intends to continue the fight against corruption and reinforce it through “more effective mechanisms”.
A younger candidate for the highest office, Abdelaziz Belaid (56) competes for the second time after a first failure in 2014.
Supporting that the December 12 presidential election is “the only way out of the crisis the country is going through,” Belaid called on Algerians to contribute to the success of the electoral event, promising to initiate “reforms” “to meet the aspirations of the people.
To revive a national economy, in the middle of a crisis, this doctor intends to “invest in the human being” and “to clean up the political life”.
This candidate promises to “eliminate corruption, guarantee the independence of justice, devote participatory democracy and the exercise of effective control using the various mechanisms that will be put in place”.
He, also, promises to “revise the Constitution” and makes it his priority, to amend the law on information, to eradicate unemployment, to revalue the salaries of civil servants, to guarantee access to decent housing and to promote women’s rights.