Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika has promised to hold a referendum on whether to pardon the country’s armed Islamists if they gave themselves up.
Speaking at his final campaign rally in Algiers ahead of the presidential vote on Thursday, Bouteflika said he would hold the vote if he was re-elected. “Algeria is looking for other types of success now, other kinds of work, different revolutions, not necessarily violent, but those of construction and reconstruction to allow us to create and build on what we have,” he told supporters. Bouteflika has also promised 112 billion euros to boost housing and infrastructure, if elected. Four other candidates are standing at the election, including the only woman present, 56-year-old Louise Hanoune from the Workers’ Party. Nationalist Ali Fawzi Rebaine, 54, stood, along with Hanoune, in the last presidential election in 2004. All parties are hoping for a strong turnout. Due to the size and diverse nature of Algeria’s terrain and people, remote polling stations opened on Monday, allowing nomadic tribes to cast their vote. Others are set to open their doors today and tomorrow before the majority of Algeria’s 20.6 million electorate votes on Thursday.