By Lamine Chikhi
ALGIERS (Reuters) – Algeria’s imminent presidential election looks likely to be postponed, a source said on Friday, as protesters returned to the streets for the 13th successive Friday to demand the removal of the nation’s ruling elite.
After two decades in power, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika quit last month under pressure from protesters and the army, but demonstrations have continued seeking political reforms and the removal of all officials belonging to the old guard.
A presidential election is scheduled for July 4.
But a source familiar with the matter said the vote was to be delayed due to difficulties of organising the logistics in time and opposition on the street.
“There won’t be elections on July 4,” he told Reuters, asking not to be named.
Hundreds of protesters began gathering again on Friday, calling for the resignations of the interim president, Abdelkader Bensalah, and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, appointed by Bouteflika days before he stepped down.
“No to elections of shame. Remove Bensalah and Bedoui first,” read one banner held up in downtown Algiers.
The Constitutional Council, which is overseeing the transition, was expected to issue a statement on the election process shortly. The deadline for would-be presidential candidates to collect and submit 60,000 signatures is May 25.
The source told Reuters the vote could be delayed until the end of the year, with names in the air to run the transition including conservative former minister Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi and technocrat and former prime minister Ahmed Benbitour.
(Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)