By Magali LagrangePosted on 11-12-2019Modified on 11-12-2019 at 06:31

Algerians are called to the polls on Thursday, December 12 to choose their next president, more than eight months after the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, under the pressure of the street. He will have spent twenty years at the helm of the country.

The 24 million voters have a choice of five candidates. But some of them reject the presidential election and consider that these five men represent the continuity of the system, since they have all, to varying degrees, been close to power.

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Abdelaziz Belaid

Abdelaziz Belaid during a televised debate on December 6, 2019 in Algiers. © RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

The youngest candidate (56) is running for the second time in a presidential election.

Abdelaziz Belaid joined the National Liberation Front (FLN) in 1986, and is part of youth organizations that support Abdelaziz Bouteflika. He was elected MP in 1997.

In 2012, he founded his own party, the Front El-Moustakbel, close to power. In 2014, he obtained 3% of the votes cast, according to official figures.

He is the only candidate not to hold a ministerial position.

Ali Benflis

Former Algerian Prime Minister Ali Benflis in Algiers, 20 February 2019. © RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

Talai el Houriat (vanguard of freedoms) party chairman is seeking the third term.

In 2004, then in 2014, he came in second, far behind Abdelaziz Bouteflika, reelected with more than 80% of the vote, according to official results.

For 15 years, the former magistrate and lawyer has presented himself as the main opponent to the resigned head of state. But his detractors blame him for his past.

He joined the political office of the FLN in 1989. Ten years later, he was campaign director of Abdelaziz Bouteflika. During the president's first term, he held several positions, including that of head of government, between 2000 and 2003. He is now 75 years old.

Abdelkader Bengrina

Abdelkader Bengrina campaigning in Algiers on 7 December 2019. © RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

For his first participation in a presidential election, this former trade unionist comes under the colors of El-Bina (Construction), a party he created in 2013 and part of an Islamist coalition. One of his deputies was elected to the presidency of the National Assembly last July.

Abdelkader Bengrina, 57, is from the MSP party, which supported Abdelaziz Bouteflika. He served as Minister of Tourism, from 1997 to 1999, under the presidency of Liamine Zéroual, before being elected deputy of Algiers in 2002.

For this presidential election, he is the only Islamist representative, the main parties of this movement having considered that the conditions were not met for the holding of the poll.

Azzedine Mihoubi

Azzedine Mihoubi meeting in Algiers, December 4, 2019. © RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

Former journalist, writer, Azzedine Mihoubi is studying at the Ecole Nationale d'Administration.

Member of Parliament from 1997 to 2002, he was appointed Minister of Culture in 2015, under the presidency of Abdelaziz Bouteflika. He held this position until last March.

This is the first time he has run for president, as a candidate of the RND party, of which he is currently acting secretary general. The National Democratic Rally is a traditional FLN ally in the Presidential Alliance that supported Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune

Abdelmadjid Tebboune here in February 2016. © RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

Abdelmadjid Tebboune, 74, is a senior career official. Several times wali (prefect) and minister, he is appointed Prime Minister of Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2017.

He remains in this position for less than three months. He is thanked after making comments about corruption, and attacked the oligarchs close to the head of state.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune is still a member of the FLN Central Committee, but he is running as an independent candidate.

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